In a seismic legal move, Special Counsel Jack Smith has executed a strategic maneuver that could leave Donald Trump cornered in a perilous predicament, teetering on the edge of a legal abyss.
Former federal prosecutor Harry Litman has ominously highlighted how Smith’s recent filing in the D.C. court, where Trump faces charges of attempting to subvert the 2020 election, might just be the weapon that shatters Trump’s defense or subjects him to a potentially devastating “perjury-fest.”
Smith’s motion, unveiled earlier in the day, goes beyond routine legal posturing. Litman reveals a crucial, yet overlooked, facet of the filing in pages 16 to 19, where Smith emphatically argues for the exclusion of inadmissible testimony concerning Trump’s alleged state of mind.
According to Litman, the motion’s underlying strategy is to curb Trump’s legal team from presenting certain conspiracy theories to the jury. The focus on Trump’s state of mind adds an additional layer of complexity due to its perceived relevance to the charges and Trump’s varied explanations for the alleged lack of intent.
The crux of Litman’s argument lies in the conundrum facing Trump — the inability to testify without exposing himself to a barrage of probing questions, highlighting the thousands of lies that have defined his political career. Litman paints a grim picture, labeling Trump’s potential testimony as a “bloodbath,” effectively dismantling his credibility and laying bare the inconsistencies in his narrative.
“The best and classic way to introduce state of mind evidence is through the defendant’s own testimony explaining his state of mind,” Litman explained. “But now we run right into the brick wall of axiom #1: Trump can’t testify. It would be a bloodbath, walking him through the greatest hits of his 1000s of lies, and exposing him to a perjury-fest. An important subtext of Smith’s motion is that both parties pretty well understand that.”
For Trump, the legal horizon appears bleak, with limited options available. Litman dismisses potential witness statements as hearsay when presented by Trump, leaving the former president with few avenues. Even attempts to elicit others’ impressions of his state of mind, Litman argues, are deftly blocked by Smith’s strategic motion, which seals off potential escape routes for Trump.
Smith’s objective, as highlighted by Litman, is crystal clear: restricting Trump’s witnesses to firsthand accounts, preventing subjective impressions about Trump’s state of mind from tainting the proceedings. Litman ominously predicts that if the court favors Smith’s motion, Trump may find it challenging to introduce evidence about his state of mind, except through the perilous path of testifying.