Indicted (Again) // The United States of America vs. Donald J. Trump

A convoy of black SUVs drive through the streets of a major American city and arrive at a courthouse. The former president of the United States gets out and enters the building to be arraigned.

Not long ago, this would have seemed like a fantastical scene. Now it isn’t even unprecedented anymore. Former President Donald Trump has now been indicted twice at the federal level (with a superseding indictment in one case adding further charges) and once at the state level, and it seems that there may be more indictments to come.

The charges in the latest indictment, at a federal courthouse in Washington, DC, are still special in their novelty. They all revolve around the false claims made by President Trump that he won the 2020 election and what he did to try to retain the presidency.

The four counts under which he was indicted last week are for conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against rights.

The specific acts that the Justice Department claimed were violations were:

1) Trump and his group of co-conspirators attempting to get state officials to change the election results in his favor.

2) Their organization of a slate of false electors in seven states who would provide false election results to Congress.

3) Their attempt to get the Justice Department to investigate false claims of voting fraud.

4) Their attempt to directly pressure Vice President Mike Pence to change the outcome of the vote during his certification of the election and then to indirectly pressure him by sending the January 6 mob to the Capitol building.

5) Their attempts to use the delay caused by the January 6 attacks to sway members of Congress to delay the certification of the vote.

The indictment was not for Trump’s false claims that the vote was stolen (which the indictment points out were protected by the First Amendment) or for inciting the January 6 riots.

Still, some legal experts have questioned whether the government has a viable case, and even if it does, whether it was proper to indict a leading contender for the presidency.

To learn more about these issues, we spoke with famous legal scholar and defense attorney Alan Dershowitz and with renowned criminal defense attorney Jeffrey Lichtman, who has represented such clients as John Gotti, Jr., the head of the Gambino crime family, and Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, one of the founders of the Sinaloa drug cartel in Mexico.

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