George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley said Tuesday that many charges in the indictment filed by Special Counsel Jack Smith were “protected speech” under the First Amendment.
Smith secured a four-count indictment of Trump relating to his efforts to contest the results of the 2020 election. Trump was ordered to appear before a federal magistrate Thursday. (RELATED: Fox Legal Analyst Calls Jack Smith A ‘Partisan’ Special Counsel, Says He Has Already ‘Made Up His Mind’ About Trump)
“There is less than meets the eye in this indictment. I thought the last indictment was a very serious threat for Donald Trump,” Turley told Fox News host Bret Baier. “When I take a red pen through material that is protected by the First Amendment, it reduces much of this to a haiku. Many of the things that the prosecutor is charging here is protected speech. It repeats a lot of the allegations in the various states, it’s unfair at points. It quotes Trump in his speech about encouraging people to go to the Capitol Hill, but like the January 6th committee, it omits where he says, ‘you should go peacefully.’”
“I think that’s a mistake, quite frankly,” Turley added. “Because it undermines your credibility when you sort of hide the ball on things like that.”
“The most jarring thing about this indictment is that it basically just accuses him of disinformation. This is a disinformation indictment,” Turley said. “It says that you were spreading falsehoods, that you were undermining the in election, that’s all part of the First Amendment, and I think that courts will look at that skeptically.”
“He might have a fair shot with a D.C. jury and maybe a D.C. judge,” Turley continued. “He is going to have a harder time with the courts, and this reminds me of sort of the McDonnell complaint, where he took the Virginia governor, got a conviction and then was unanimously overturned by the Supreme Court.”
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