OAN’s Daniel Baldwin
2:35 PM – Thursday, June 8, 2023
Attorney and Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz told One America News an indictment of former President Donald Trump would be a clear form of election interference.
“I have absolutely no doubt we’re seeing special justice for Donald Trump, an attempt to get Trump, an attempt to take the vote away from the voters and put it in the hands of Justice Department officials, jurors, lawyers, and judges,” said Dershowitz, the author of “Get Trump.”
Reports indicate federal prosecutors have informed Trump’s legal team that the 45th president has been labeled a target in the investigation of his handling of classified materials.
“When you get the letter that you’re a target, it means you’re indicted,” Dershowtiz said. “Basically, it means unless you can persuade prosecutors that they have missed something or something’s wrong or something new develops, you will be indicted.”
The 45th president denied having been served this letter.
“No one has told me I’m being indicted, and I shouldn’t be because I’ve done NOTHING wrong,” Trump wrote on Truth Social. “But I have assumed for years that I am a Target of the WEAPONIZED DOJ & FBI, starting with the Russia, Russia, Russia HOAX, the “No Collusion” Mueller Report, Impeachment HOAX #1, Impeachment HOAX #2, the PERFECT Ukraine phone call, and various other SCAMS & WITCH HUNTS. A TRAVESTY OF JUSTICE & ELECTION INTERFERENCE AT A LEVEL NEVER SEEN BEFORE. REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS MUST MAKE THIS THEIR # 1 ISSUE!!!”
Federal prosecutors indicated that obstruction of justice could be a charge levied at Trump in a possible indictment. But Dershowitz argued that “people confuse obstruction of justice with unlawful obstruction of justice.”
“Criminal defense lawyers obstruct justice every day,” said Dershowitz. “Lawfully, we plead the Fifth Amendment. We try to get evidence suppressed based on the Fourth Amendment. We cross-examine witnesses effectively. We invoke statutes and limitations. We do everything we can to obstruct the prosecution from bringing its case to court. But that’s all lawful. That’s constitutionally protected.”
“To cross the line into criminal behavior, you have to show a corrupt motive,” continued Dershowitz. “You have to show destruction of evidence, tampering with witnesses, things of that kind. I have seen no evidence of any of that.”
Dershowitz says the line between constitutional and unconstitutional obstruction often gets blurred.
“In my view, [obstruction of justice] has to be deliberate and willful based on a corrupt intent,” said Dershowitz. “And that’s not so easy for the government to prove, because the government doesn’t have any tools to get into the mind of defendants. They have to use circumstantial evidence.”
President Joe Biden is also facing an investigation from special counsel Robert Hur regarding his handling of classified materials. Trump critics often argue that Biden’s situation differs from Trump’s because the 46th president’s legal team immediately cooperated with the government. Dershowitz took a sledgehammer to this argument.
“That’s the best argument for Trump,” Dershowitz explained. “You get no points for cooperating, and you lose no points for not cooperating. For 60 years I have not cooperated with the government. When I think it’s in the interest of my client to cooperate to get a better deal, I do it. But my job is not to make the government’s job easy. My job is to make the government’s job very difficult.”
The “Get Trump” author also argued an indictment over Trump’s handling of classified materials would not be strong. Trump has argued that he has absolute authority to declassify.
“The question is: does he have to do anything,” Dershowitz asked. “Does he have to make some kind of a blessing over the papers and say, I hereby declare you unclassified. Is it enough if he does it in his mind, does he need witnesses?”
It all boils down to who has the burden of proof, according to the Harvard University professor.
“Who has the burden of proof,” Dershowitz said. “If the government has to prove that [Trump] didn’t declassify, they lose. If [Trump] has to prove that he did declassify, it will be harder for him to prevail.”
Dershowitz argues the question of burden should not be difficult to answer.
“I have no doubt that the government should have the burden of approving every element of the crime,” argued Dershowitz. “And one element of the crime is that the material remains classified. If it’s declassified, there’s no statutory violation. I think the government clearly should have the burden of proving that.”
Circumstantial evidence could change the equation, according to Dershowitz. But he says there is no law requiring Trump to have announced or recorded that he was declassifying a document.
“There’s circumstantial evidence,” Dershowitz explained. “If he never said to anybody that he declassified, or there’s a rumor that there’s some kind of a tape out there where he says, I have this material which is classified, you can use circumstantial evidence to either prove he declassified or prove he didn’t declassify. But it will depend on who has the burden because whoever has the burden will have a very, very hard time meeting it.”
Dershowitz agreed with the 45th president, saying an indictment would be yet another form of election interference at the end of the day.
“I have an absolute, constitutional right to vote against Trump for the third time,” said Dershowitz. “And I don’t want anybody to deny me that right by indicting him falsely.”
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