UPDATED 3:25 PM PT – Tuesday, February 9, 2021
The Trump defense team argued in support of free speech as Democrats seek to punish President Donald Trump for what he said at a political rally.
During the opening arguments in the Senate impeachment trial, attorney Bruce Castor said what former President Trump is being accused of is constitutionally protected under the First Amendment right to free speech. Castor explained he condemns the violence which took place on January 6 and those who took part should face the consequences. However, he added Donald Trump should not be convicted because of the words he said.
“This trial is not about trading liberty for security, it’s about suggesting that it is a good idea that we give up those liberties that we have so long fought for,” Castor stated. “We have sent armies to other parts of the world to convince those governments to implement the freedoms that we enjoy. This trial is about, is about trading liberty for the security from the mob? Honestly, no, it can’t be. We can’t be thinking about that. We can’t possibly be suggesting that we punish people for political speech in this country.”
Castor noted that some of those charged in connection to the Capitol siege were charged with conspiracy, but none of them were charged with conspiring with Donald Trump for what happened. He also said the Democrats are only seeking to disqualify him from running for office again because they are afraid the American people will go back to him in 2024.
“Is that what the fear is, is the fear that the people in 2024, in fact, will want to change, and will want to go back to Donald Trump, and not the current occupant of the White House?” Castor asked.
The attorney also argued if Trump did what the Democrats are claiming, the Justice Department would have already taken action against him.