Attorneys for former President Donald Trump on Tuesday denied that their client incited last month’s riot at the U.S. Capitol or sought to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential race, insisting instead that Trump was merely exercising his First Amendment rights with unproven claims of voter fraud.
“It is denied that President Trump incited the crowd to engage in destructive behavior,” Trump’s legal team wrote in a brief filed with the Senate ahead of the impeachment trial that is expected to get underway next week.
The former president “exercised his First Amendment right under the Constitution to express his belief that the election results were suspect,” Trump’s lawyers wrote, “since with very few exceptions, under the convenient guise of Covid-19 pandemic ‘safeguards’ states election laws and procedures were changed by local politicians or judges without the necessary approvals from state legislatures.”
Trump’s claims of voter fraud in last November’s election, widely credited with inciting the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, have been comprehensively debunked by courts and election experts.
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