Scott: Legal defenses available to the president

Scott: Legal defenses available to the president

  • Updated


It appears that the House of Representatives may issue articles of impeachment against President Trump. The issuance of the articles will be followed by a trial before the Senate with the chief justice of the Supreme Court presiding over the proceedings. Trump will have the right to offer defenses to the charges. However, there is little dispute that Trump did the act he is accused of doing; he conditioned military aid to Ukraine upon that government announcing that it was investigating the Bidens, thus once again inviting a foreign government to intervene in a U.S. election. Even though there may be no defense as to the facts, there are some legal defenses that are available to our president.

Trump’s legal team could argue that Trump is mentally incompetent to stand trial. Under that defense the lawyers would need to show that their client is unable to understand the proceedings or is unable to assist in his defense. The lawyers would tell the chief justice that Trump does not understand the impeachment process (no, Mr. President, Justice Kavanaugh cannot stop the impeachment) and that Trump is not capable of helping with his defense. Counsel would disclose that Trump refuses to read documents that have no pictures and that exceed one paragraph in length, that he alters important papers with his Sharpie, and that he cannot focus for more than ten minutes. They would say that his tweets have defeated what would otherwise be arguments that could be made in his defense, and that some of his tweets have even created potentially new charges.

The legal team could also contend that Trump was insane at the time of the alleged acts. Under that defense the lawyers would argue that Trump is not responsible for his actions due to a psychiatric condition that existed at the time of the acts. The lawyers could have a psychiatrist testify concerning Trump’s narcissistic personality disorder and his other reality-altering mental conditions.

And if all else fails the president’s lawyers could ask the chief justice if Trump, because of his immaturity, could be tried as a juvenile.

GARY SCOTT, Cheyenne



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