Former President Donald Trump is facing charges under Special Counsel Jack Smith’s indictment that Democrats who sent alternate Electoral College certificates in the 1960 presidential election never did.
In 1960, the Hawaii governor certified the state’s election results showing Republican Richard Nixon won by 140 votes, but electors for Democrat John F. Kennedy signed and submitted their own certificates voting on behalf of the state claiming to be “duly and legally appointed and qualified” members of the Electoral College, according to Politico. Trump’s efforts to convince state officials to take similar actions during the 2020 election by pushing alternate electors to meet and cast votes for him are at the foundation of Smith’s indictment, yet the Hawaii electors were never prosecuted.
A recount of Hawaii’s votes ultimately reversed the outcome of the state election, so the same three electors who initially defied the results submitted new certificates, according to Politico. Then-Vice President Nixon, presented with three sets of certificates while presiding over Electoral College counting, accepted the newest ones sent by the Kennedy electors.
Two days before the electoral vote count, state Judge Ronald Jamieson determined it was not fraud that the Kennedy electors met before the recount, but rather was crucial for preserving their ability to have their electoral vote counted after a recount revealed Kennedy was the state winner, according to Politico.
The indictment states Trump “and co-conspirators organized fraudulent slates of electors in seven targeted states (Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin), attempting to mimic the procedures that the legitimate electors were supposed to follow under the Constitution and other federal and state laws.” (RELATED: Jack Smith’s Charges Against Trump Wouldn’t Hold Up At The Supreme Court, Legal Experts Say)
Jack Smith’s case could die in the Supreme Court https://t.co/uICVsEtviT
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) August 4, 2023
Democratic Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel indicted 16 Republicans in July for attempting to file false electoral votes in the 2020 election. Some liberal commentators who celebrated the indictment, such as CNN legal analyst Norman Eisen, previously called for electors to defy their states’ votes in 2016.
In 2016, Eisen wrote in reference to Trump that “electors should not — CANNOT — choose [a] man who will violate oath.”
Legal experts note Trump’s indictment poses First Amendment concerns and could criminalize “incorrect legal advice.”
“Special Counsel Jack Smith’s new indictment against President Trump seeks to criminalize political speech and to criminalize taking incorrect legal advice,” former federal prosecutor and Missouri attorney general candidate Will Scharf tweeted Wednesday.
George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley said Tuesday Smith’s charges represent “the first criminal indictment of alleged disinformation.”
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