Former prosecutor explains why Donald Trump was the main focus of the January 6 indictment

Donald Trump’s most recent federal indictment may not be the longest charging document he has faced, but it is certainly one of the most significant. Legal analysts and journalists have reacted to the Department of Justice’s charges against Trump for his attempts to overturn the 2020 election, noting that the indictment does not address much of his conduct leading up to and during the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

The ex-president, who has been impeached twice, is now facing four charges related to his election-meddling efforts. These include conspiracy to deprive Americans of their rights, which is a law passed as part of anti-Ku Klux Klan legislation. However, what is missing from the indictment are charges that many expected to see after the House of Representatives’ select committee investigation into the attack. There is no count of giving aid or comfort to an insurrection, nor is there any mention of seditious conspiracy, which has been leveled against members of extremist groups like the Oathkeepers and Proud Boys.

Furthermore, the indictment does not include charges against Trump’s allies who spread conspiracy theories about the election or other enablers who pushed falsehoods on various issues. Some of these allies, like former legal counsel Rudy Giuliani, are referred to as co-conspirators in the indictment. This suggests that they are not considered “unindicted.” The focus of the indictment is solely on the actions of Trump himself.

According to Harry Litman, a former deputy assistant attorney general and federal prosecutor, this deliberate omission may be to streamline the path to trial and keep the focus on Trump’s efforts. Litman believes that bringing an indictment only against Trump, rather than including multiple defendants, reduces the potential for delays. This strategy increases the likelihood of a federal trial occurring before the 2024 election concludes.

Litman also suggests that the exclusion of more serious charges like seditious conspiracy and giving comfort to a rebellion may be a strategic decision. By focusing on Trump’s efforts to change the election results rather than his words, the prosecution is attempting to minimize any First Amendment-related defenses Trump’s legal team may raise.

Despite the charges against him, Trump maintains his innocence and continues to claim that he won the 2020 election. Many of his loyal supporters share this belief. While awaiting a decision from prosecutors in Georgia, who are investigating his attempts to change the election results in that state, Trump remains a central figure in American politics.

In conclusion, Trump’s latest federal indictment may not address all aspects of his conduct, but it carries significant weight. The decision to focus solely on Trump and his election-meddling efforts appears to be a calculated move to expedite the trial process and minimize potential delays. As the legal proceedings continue, the public remains divided on Trump’s guilt and the legitimacy of the 2020 election.

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