Former President Donald Trump's legal team chose a "folksy" opening instead of starting with an argument, according to legal expert Alan Dershowitz on Newsmax TV.
And, Dershowitz said, he was baffled by the tactic.
A short time after attorney Bruce Castor began Trump's defense Tuesday afternoon, Dershowitz questioned the lawyer's style on "American Agenda."
"There is no argument; I have no idea what he's doing," Dershowitz told co-hosts Heather Childers and Bob Sellers. "I have no idea why he's saying what he's saying.
"He's introducing himself: 'I'm a nice guy; I like my senators; I know my senators; senators are great people.' C'mon, the American people are entitled to an argument, a constitutional argument."
In calling Castor's approach "folksy," Dershowitz said sometimes that works – but time will tell if this was such an occasion.
"[Castor] did say, I think very appropriately, that everybody wants to take revenge when they see a horrible [riot] that took place at the Capitol," Dershowitz said. "But then he went off. I just don't understand it. Maybe he'll bring it home, but right now it does not appear to me to be effective advocacy."
The trial began with House managers presenting a video that showed graphic images from the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol. Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md. – "my former student," Dershowitz said – gave an emotional speech.
Trump's team – it comprises Castor and David Schoen – was expected to show its own video with Democrats' own rhetoric.
"I think it should be played soon," Dershowitz said. "I think the argument should be that all this is constitutionally protected, not to try and condemn the people on the Democratic side but to say this is America, this is the American tradition. People have been making inflammatory speeches and some of the inflammatory speeches have caused harm, the price we pay for our First Amendment."
"Quote Jefferson back in 1801, where he said, 'You don't go after the speaker, you go after the person who does the harm.' That's the American way. That's what the First Amendment does. So if it were me, I would have started with the First Amendment."
Although the trial was being televised and streamed, the constitutional law expert added Castor should be focused on addressing a small group of Republican senators.
"He is talking to 10 people, basically," Dershowitz said. "We know that every Democrat will vote to remove; we know that maybe as many as 7, 8 Republicans will vote to remove. You need 17, so he's talking to 10 people – that's his jury. I just think he has to respond, and he has to get to the constitutional issues."
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