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Sam Alito’s 2011 Opinion Could Cripple Trump’s Defense In Jan 6 Case



Justice Samuel Alito and former president Donald Trump
Justice Samuel Alito and former president Donald Trump. (Photos via Imgur)

Former President Donald Trump’s defense strategy in the aftermath of the tumultuous 2020 election might be facing a serious hurdle, as legal experts point to a significant legal precedent set by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito in 2011.

In a recent exposé in The New York Times, legal scholar Burt Neuborne, from the New York University Law School, meticulously dissects how Alito’s 2011 opinion could upend Trump’s defense strategy, which hinges on his genuine belief in his election victory as a shield against allegations of defrauding the United States.

Neuborne’s analysis highlights an intriguing legal doctrine: the concept of “willful blindness.” In essence, the doctrine posits that if someone deliberately ignores clear evidence contradicting their claims, it’s akin to admitting guilt.

Alito’s opinion, rendered in a separate case, emphasized that various criminal statutes necessitate proof of intentional action or knowledge, and courts applying the principle of willful blindness hold that individuals cannot manipulate these statutes by actively shielding themselves from unmistakable signs that challenge critical facts.

“Numerous criminal statutes necessitate evidence that the defendant acted with knowledge or intent, and courts applying the doctrine of willful blindness maintain that defendants cannot evade the implications of these statutes by intentionally shielding themselves from clear evidence pertaining to pivotal facts that are strongly indicated by the situation,” Alito wrote.

This doctrine, Neuborne suggests, could have profound implications for Trump’s predicament. With numerous former Trump administration and campaign officials testifying to the relentless conveyance of the election’s legitimacy to Trump, there’s a growing body of evidence illustrating that Trump repeatedly received information contradicting his election victory narrative.

Neuborne concludes that while the argument is not a guaranteed slam dunk, it’s conceivable that a jury of twelve individuals could reasonably find that Trump consciously turned a blind eye to mounting evidence, a stance tantamount to willful blindness to the truth.

As the legal showdown looms, experts and observers are closely watching how this precedent could potentially reshape the course of the Jan 6 case, adding a new layer of complexity to Trump’s defense strategy.


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