Trump's attorneys raise constitutional objections to Georgia criminal case

December 2, 2023

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis made headlines earlier this year when she indicted former President Donald Trump over his conduct following the 2020 election. 

The case took a new turn this week when Trump’s defense team argued that his prosecution amounts to interference in next year’s election. 

Lawyer raises prospect of Trump "not being able to campaign for the presidency"

Steven H. Sadow serves as Trump’s lead lawyer in Georgia, and according to The New York Times, he raised the idea in a hearing on Friday.

Specifically, the attorney emphasized how participating in his trial will seriously hinder Trump’s ability to seek higher office.

“Can you imagine the notion of the Republican nominee for president not being able to campaign for the presidency because he is in some form or fashion in a courtroom defending himself?” Sadow asked.

Sadow maintained that this would amount to “the most effective election interference in the history of the United States.”

In response, Judge Scott McAfee asked lead prosecutor Nathan Wade whether he agreed “that having this trial on Election Day would constitute election interference.”

Defense says Trump's trial would be precluded by Supremacy Clause if he is reelected

Wade replied by saying, “This is moving forward with the business of Fulton County. I don’t think that it in any way impedes defendant Trump’s ability to campaign.”

CNN noted how Sadow also maintained that in the event Trump is reelected, Georgia would be precluded from finishing the trial until after his term ended. 

In support of this contention, the defense attorney pointed to Article VI, Paragraph 2 of the United States Constitution.

Known as the Supremacy Clause, it provides that the Constitution and federal law supersede state laws and constitutions. 

Charges said to violate activity "that the First Amendment is designed to protect"

“Under the Supremacy Clause and its duty to the president of the United States, this trial would not take place at all until after he left his term of office,” he said. 

What’s more, Wade went on to contend that the prosecution of Trump amounts to criminalizing speech protected by the First Amendment.  

“You take the facts as alleged in the indictment… as applied constitutionally with the First Amendment, you’ll find that it violates free speech, freedom of petitioning, all the expressions that the First Amendment is designed to protect, and therefore the indictment needs to be dismissed,” he was quoted as saying.

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