(WASHINGTON) — Donald Trump’s attorney Jim Trusty said Sunday he expects the legal team representing the former president in New York City to seek to dismiss his recent indictment over hush money payments.
“I think there’s going to be some very well-placed motions to dismiss based on the legal frailties of this kind of, you know, mental gymnastics indictment that [Manhattan District Attorney] Alvin Bragg is trying to piece together,” Trusty told ABC “This Week” co-anchor Jonathan Karl.
Pressed by Karl on whether to also expect motions to request a change of venue following Trump claiming on social media that neighboring Staten Island would be a “very fair and secure location for the trial,” Trusty said seeking to dismiss the case takes precedence.
“I think the motions to dismiss have to be a priority because they amputate this miscarriage of justice early on,” Trusty said.
The “very robust” motions could be on issues that include the statute of limitations, the “bootstrapping” of federal election law in state charges and more, he said.
He said he expected to see such motions “probably much earlier than December,” the next court date.
“We have a lot of confidence about how it plays out in the long run,” he said.
Trump faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records related to paying adult film star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election to keep her from going public with a claim of an affair he says is false. That money was part of a “scheme” to bolster Trump’s election chances and he then sought to cover it up, prosecutors allege.
Trump pleaded not guilty at an arraignment Tuesday and has vehemently denied wrongdoing, claiming he’s being persecuted.
Trusty echoed that on “This Week.”
“The president is obviously a very resilient guy. He’s upset by this situation in terms of being targeted and that’s really the key. … This is a bad moment for this country,” Trusty said, calling Bragg’s case a “rancid ham sandwich of an indictment.”
Karl pushed for Trusty’s own opinion on Judge Juan Merchan, in light of Trump’s derisive comments about Merchan and Merchan’s family. Trusty said he didn’t want to “jump onto any bandwagon when it comes to criticizing.”
However, he insisted that with Merchan’s family, Trump was pointing out their personal bias rather than personally attacking them when he singled them out in a speech at his Mar-a-Lago Club on Tuesday.
Karl challenged Trusty on whether Trump’s attacks on Bragg were wise. “I’m in the legal lane. I’m not going to worry too much or be able to try to control the politics of the moment,” he said.
But he painted Bragg as a partisan prosecutor who “ran for office saying he’s the best guy to take out Donald Trump.” (Before being elected as district attorney, Bragg touted his past experience in court against Trump and said Trump should be held “accountable” but that he would go “wherever the facts take me.”)
“No matter what your political stripes, we should not have the criminal justice system that starts off with targeting people to find some sort of charge, because if you do, you end up coming up with tread bare charges like this,” Trusty said on “This Week.”
Trump’s comments about Bragg and others prompted Merchan, who has faced threats of his own, to warn Trump in court last week to watch his words. Merchan has the ability to issue a gag order on Trump but said he was reluctant to take such a sweeping move — for now.
Karl also asked Trusty about the Department of Justice special counsel’s investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents after he left office.
Trusty, one of the lawyers representing the former president in that case, assured Karl that the former president now no longer has such documents in his possession and has been seeking to be in compliance with the government’s efforts to retake the sensitive material.
According to court records, Trump previously resisted returning the documents, leading to an FBI search of Mar-a-Lago last year.
“There’s no outstanding issue related to compliance with the subpoena,” Trusty said on Sunday. “Every step of the way, if we found anything of interest, even if it’s probably not classified, we’d turn it over.”
“So, no more classified documents in his position? They’ve all been turned over?” Karl followed up.
“Correct,” Trusty said. “We’ve done what’s right when it comes to the court proceedings and to knocking out the issue of whether there’s anything standing. And it also shows there’s no obstruction going on. So, I think we’re in a good place if the facts actually come out.”
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