Speaking on Fox News’ “Hannity” on Thursday night, famed attorney Alan Dershowitz said the Democrats making the impeachment argument in the Senate on Thursday had “overplayed their hand; they went on too long, too repetitious, they should have rested yesterday.”
Dershowitz started by slamming Hillary Clinton, who had called senators who might acquit Trump his “co-conspirators.” She tweeted, “If Senate Republicans fail to convict Donald Trump, it won’t be because the facts were with him or his lawyers mounted a competent defense. It will be because the jury included his co-conspirators.”
Dershowitz said, “I don’t understand; Hillary Clinton’s a very good lawyer. When she says to the Republican senators that ‘You’re as guilty as he is,’ they’re listening and saying, ‘Oh, you mean, he’s as innocent as we are.’ They think they’re innocent, so if she’s making comparisons between the senators and Trump, that’s very ineffective advocacy; she’s actually advocating for the senators to vote to acquit him.”
Dershowitz surmised there were two avenues lawyers could use to defend Trump: that his statements on January 6 were protected by the First Amendment and that the Senate does not have jurisdiction to convict a former president. He noted the letter by 140 constitutional scholars to Trump’s attorneys warning them not to defend him on free speech grounds. “The letter carries an implicit threat, as the rules of professional responsibility prohibit an attorney from making frivolous arguments and carry disciplinary sanctions for those who do,” the Daily Mail noted.
“The evidence is overwhelming,” Dershowitz asserted. “The president made a statement, a speech that was so within the parameters of our First Amendment and Brandenburg, notwithstanding the fact that 144 scholars have said it would be unethical, unethical, to even raise a First Amendment issue. I hope the defense attorneys for Trump don’t listen and make that argument; I’ve offered to defend them in front of any bar association that finds this argument (First Amendment) unethical because these scholars are trying to intimidate lawyers, trying to persuade them that they cannot make a First Amendment argument, depriving all of America and the Senate of the opportunity to hear how the First Amendment precludes this impeachment.”
He added, “And so I expect we’ll hear a few hours — David Schoen is a very good lawyer; he will focus laser-like on the First Amendment issues.”
Turning to the Senate’s jurisdiction, Dershowitz continued, “They should also argue the jurisdictional issue. Remember: it doesn’t matter what reasons the senators have for acquitting; some may acquit on the First Amendment grounds; others, even though they were voted down, may still acquit on the ground that there’s no jurisdiction.
He concluded, “And the total simply has to be more than a third and there will be an acquittal, so I think that will be the strategy. The Democrats overplayed their hand today; they went on too long, too repetitious, they should have rested yesterday. I think the Republicans, the lawyers will do a good job by making it neat and clean, and to the point and short.”