Former President Donald Trump’s attorneys are denying he incited the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol or tried to interfere with the formalizing of President Joe Biden’s election win.
Their claims are part of a brief filed with the Senate ahead of the impeachment trial scheduled to begin next week. The brief was detailed in reports by Politico and The New York Times.
"It is denied that President Trump incited the crowd to engage in destructive behavior," Trump's legal team wrote.
They said his words to the protesters — “If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore” — were protected by his First Amendment right of free speech.
They also claimed they were not meant as a reference to violent action, but “about the need to fight for election security in general.”
His lawyers argued that Trump believed he won the general election and was within his rights to “express his belief that the election results were suspect.”
“Insufficient evidence exists upon which a reasonable jurist could conclude that the 45th president’s statements were accurate or not, and he therefore denies they were false,” the lawyers wrote, adding that Trump “denies” it is false to say he won the election.
And Trump’s lawyers maintained the Constitution does not permit the Senate to try a former president.
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