Jan. 6 attack was ‘exactly’ what Trump intended, special counsel claims in court filing

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(WASHINGTON) — Special counsel Jack Smith, in a court filing Tuesday, detailed additional evidence he plans to introduce at the trial of former President Donald Trump on charges of unlawfully trying to overturn the results of the 2020 election, including evidence of Trump’s alleged state of mind as his supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

“This evidence shows that the rioters’ disruption of the certification proceeding is exactly what the defendant intended on January 6,” Smith said in the filing.

Smith’s office, in the filing, provided notice of a range of information and testimony prosecutors hope to introduce at trial that — while not part of the actual charges against Trump — will speak to his “motive, intent, preparation, knowledge … and common plan,” they say.

The evidence, according to the filing, includes statements from Trump dating back to 2012 in which he leveled baseless allegations of voting fraud, which prosecutors say “demonstrate the defendant’s common plan of falsely blaming fraud for election results he does not like.”

Prosecutors said they will also show the jury statements Trump made in the lead-up to both the 2016 and 2020 elections, where he refused to commit to a peaceful transition of power.

To support their allegation that Trump pressured state officials to overturn the election results, Smith’s office says it will present evidence of an unnamed Trump campaign employee who sought to obstruct the vote count in Michigan on Election Day.

Smith said his office has texts from the unnamed employee showing the employee was encouraging “rioting and other methods of obstruction” at the convention center in Detroit when votes in the state began trending in support of Joe Biden. As Trump’s supporters flooded the convention center to raise illegitimate challenges to votes being counted, Trump tweeted baseless allegations that there was illegal activity taking place there, further fueling the chaos, according to Smith.

Smith’s office also said it will introduce evidence of Trump and a co-conspirator’s efforts to retaliate against a former chief counsel of the Republican National Committee who publicly repudiated Trump’s claims of a stolen 2020 election.

Smith additionally plans to present evidence of Trump and his allies’ attacks against Georgia election workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, whose defamation case against former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani is set to go to trial next week. The evidence will include disparaging posts Trump made immediately after the pair’s testimony before the Jan. 6 select committee, where they detailed how Trump’s supporters targeted them with death threats after his false attacks.

Trump’s vocal support of Jan. 6 defendants and even specific members of the Proud Boys will also be used by Smith at trial, the filing says, to demonstrate what prosecutors say is Trump’s awareness of how his followers respond to his rallying cries and his ongoing approval of their actions at the Capitol. This will include Trump’s financial support to the so-called “Jan. 6 Prison Choir,” which includes Jan. 6 defendants who attacked police. Smith plans to play video at trial of the choir singing in a recording before Trump began speaking at a rally, as well as comments he has made pledging to pardon many rioters.

“Evidence of the defendant’s post-conspiracy embrace of particularly violent and notorious rioters is admissible to establish the defendant’s motive and intent on January 6 — that he sent supporters, including groups like the Proud Boys, whom he knew were angry, and whom he now calls ‘patriots,’ to the Capitol to achieve the criminal objective of obstructing the congressional certification,” Smith says in the filing.

“In addition, his statements in this time period agreeing that he then held, and still holds, enormous influence over his supporters’ actions is evidence of his knowledge and intent to obstruct the certification, as he chose not to exercise that influence to mitigate the violence on January 6,” the filing says, adding that “evidence of the defendant’s statements regarding possible pardons for January 6 offenders is admissible to help the jury assess the credibility and motives of trial witnesses, because through such comments, the defendant is publicly signaling that the law does not apply to those who act at his urging regardless of the legality of their actions.”

Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung wrote in a statement to ABC News that prosecutors are “getting so desperate to attack President Trump that they are perverting justice by trying to include claims that weren’t anywhere to be found in their dreamt up, fake indictment.”

Trump in August pleaded not guilty to charges of undertaking a “criminal scheme” to overturn the results of the 2020 election by enlisting a slate of so-called “fake electors,” using the Justice Department to conduct “sham election crime investigations,” trying to enlist the vice president to “alter the election results,” and promoting false claims of a stolen election as the Jan. 6 riot raged — all in an effort to subvert democracy and remain in power.

The former president has denied all wrongdoing and denounced the charges as “a persecution of a political opponent.”

The case is currently scheduled to go to trial on March 4.

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