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Former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial defense lawyers on Friday argued that the Democratic case against him rests on “reported” allegations — and that in a courtroom, he could not be convicted.
Attorney David Schoen played for senators a montage of video clips of impeachment managers using the words “reportedly,” “reported” and “reports” over and over to describe Trump’s conduct relating to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, which they have accused him of inciting.
“The House managers facing a significant lack of evidence turned often to press reports and rumors during these proceedings. Claims that would never meet the evidentiary standards of any court,” Schoen said.
“As any trial lawyer will tell you, ‘reportedly’ is a euphemism for, ‘I have no real evidence.’”
Schoen’s montage of video clips contained Democratic arguments that he was guilty of inciting the violence that killed five and then was satisfied with the result.
“‘Reportedly’ is not the standard in any American setting in which any semblance of due process is afforded an accused. Reportedly isn’t even here is some circumstantial evidence. It is exactly as reliable as ‘I Googled this for you’,” Schoen said.
“And if you’re worried you might ever be tried based on this type of evidence, don’t be. You get more due process than this when you fight a parking ticket.”
Schoen said that the Senate trial doesn’t allow the defense team to delve into and object to each bit of evidence attributed to news reports.
“One reason due process is so important with respect to evidence offered against an accused is that it requires an opportunity to test the integrity, the credibility, the reliability of the evidence. Here of course, former President Trump was completely denied any such opportunity” Schoen said.
“And it turns out there is significant reason to doubt the evidence the House managers have put before us.”
Schoen said that in one instance, a tweet cited by impeachment manager Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) about bringing the “cavalry” to DC on Jan. 6 was actually about “Calvary,” a Christian reference.
Reporting attributed to news publications about the riot previously were contested in the trial when Utah GOP Sen. Mike Lee demanded successfully that impeachment managers withdraw claims about his call with Trump during the riot. Lee said the reporting was inaccurate but didn’t specify how.
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