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Politics

Trump's Legal Defense Team Concludes Case In Fraction Of Allotted Time

President Donald Trump's defense attorney David Schoen speaks on the fourth day of former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial at the U.S. Capitol.
President Donald Trump's defense attorney David Schoen speaks on the fourth day of former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial at the U.S. Capitol.

Former President Donald Trump's legal team concluded its defense on Friday, arguing that the impeachment proceedings were "an act of political vengeance" as well as "a politically motivated witch hunt."

Trump's attorneys had up to 16 hours over the course of two days to push back on House impeachment managers case that Trump should be convicted and barred from running for future office for inciting the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

In the end, the defense team wrapped their case in about three hours. The impeachment managers had used about 10 hours over two days.

The impeachment trial now moves into a phase where senators, who are serving as jurors, can pose questions to both the House Democrats prosecuting the case against Trump and the ex-president's legal team.

The current timeline makes it all the more likely that Trump's historic second impeachment trial could be concluded as early as Saturday. After questions, there remains the option for managers to request a debate on witnesses followed by a four-hour window for closing arguments before the final vote on whether to convict Trump.

Trump's attorneys Bruce Castor, David Schoen and Michael van der Veen each took turns addressing the Senate chamber to characterizing Trump as a staunch supporter of law and order, not someone who incited the chaos at the Capitol.

The legal team also argued that Trump's rhetoric, including remarks at a rally before the siege on the building where lawmakers were voting to certify Joe Biden's electoral victory, was protected by the First Amendment.

Trump lawyers also played video of Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris of using variations of the word "fight" in interviews and campaign speeches. It was an attempt to show Democrats as being hypocritical about Trump's language.

The managers have argued that Trump knew his rhetoric in particular would incite violence and that he had a history of condoning violent acts.

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