The former US president’s defense team has demanded that the Senate acquit Donald Trump of inciting sedition.
Trump’s legal team, cobbled together less than a week before the trial was set to begin, accused Democrats of threatening free speech and trying to disqualify their political competition by pushing to convict the former president on the charge of inciting insurrection.
The defense claimed the charge was baseless, arguing there was no insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, calling it a violent riot instead. Five people died as a result of the mob attack, which sought to prevent Congress from confirming President Joe Biden’s election victory. Dozens who took part in the riots, including members of militia groups, have been arrested.
Trump’s lawyers concluded their arguments in under four hours, far less time than the prosecution. A question-and-answer session followed in which senators challenged the defense and prosecution on the merits of their cases.
The defense team’s opening appearance was widely panned on Tuesday after attorney Bruce Castor offered a rambling and at times incoherent argument on why the trial itself was unconstitutional. The effort failed, with 56 senators voting to proceed.
However, the defense team seemed to have hit their marks on Friday. Even Trump critics such as Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, praised the performance of the former president’s lawyers today.
Though some Republican senators have also called the evidence presented by House managers earlier this week “compelling,” it remains unlikely that two-thirds of the Senate, which is evenly split between parties, will vote to convict Trump.