Donald Trump’s lead attorney, John Lauro, has been making various media appearances following the former president’s federal indictment for three criminal conspiracies and obstruction of the 2020 presidential election. Lauro has argued that Trump’s actions were protected by the First Amendment and suggested potential defense strategies for the upcoming trial. He has also claimed that Trump is immune from prosecution as a former president. These statements have been cited by Jack Smith, the US Department of Justice special counsel, in his request for a trial date.
Special counsel Smith’s filing highlights Lauro’s remarks on CBS News regarding the defense’s plans to file motions on First Amendment grounds and Trump’s alleged immunity as president. The filing also disputes Lauro’s claim that prosecutors have been working on the case for three and a half years, noting that the events of January 6, when Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol, occurred less than three years ago. Prosecutors assert that they have informed Trump of the investigation since at least June 2022 and that the House select committee’s investigation into the events of January 6 has produced significant evidence.
The filing further quotes Lauro’s comments on Fox News, where he claimed that the right to a “speedy trial” solely belongs to the defendant. Prosecutors refute this claim, asserting that the right to a timely trial is vested in the public’s interest. They have requested a trial to begin on January 2, 2023, citing the public’s strong interest in a speedy trial, particularly given the charges against Trump and their impact on the 2020 presidential election.
In his media appearances, Lauro has rehashed arguments that were previously rejected by the US Supreme Court, such as the “independent state legislature” theory. He has also been criticized for downplaying Trump’s alleged scheme to overturn election results and characterizing it as mere “politics.” Trump himself continues to portray himself as a victim of political persecution, accusing prosecutors and President Joe Biden of politically motivated actions aimed at interfering with the 2024 elections. However, Trump has been indicted for his own alleged election interference.
The content of Lauro’s statements reflects Trump’s defense strategy and attempts to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the charges against him. Nevertheless, the filing by the Department of Justice emphasizes the need for a speedy trial in order to address the serious allegations and the potential impact on democratic processes. The upcoming trial will likely be closely watched, given its significance and the involvement of a former president.