The Weekend Wrap: December 10, 2023
Trump seeks to delay D.C. trial, and the Brooks Brothers riot redux
Welcome to the Weekend Wrap! Here are the week’s white collar highlights:
D.C. Federal Case - January 6 Allegations
Lots of news in the D.C. case this week:
Smith Files Notice of Other Bad Acts Evidence: On Tuesday special counsel Jack Smith filed a notice of intent to introduce evidence at trial of other bad acts by Trump. This is called 404(b) evidence, after the Federal Rule of Evidence that governs it. Other bad acts of the defendant that are not part of the current case are not admissible to show bad character or propensity – to suggest that because he did other bad things before, he’s probably guilty. But such evidence can come in for other purposes, such as proof of the defendant’s motive, intent, preparation, knowledge, or a common plan. Prosecutors are typically required to provide advance notice of their intent to offer such evidence so the defendant has a chance to object prior to trial.
The document is brief but quite interesting. Among other things, Smith said he intends to introduce the following:
Evidence that Trump has a history of making baseless claims of election fraud, going back to at least 2012
Evidence of Trump’s consistent plan to resist any peaceful transfer of power, as evidenced by his statements prior to both the 2020 and 2016 elections
Evidence that Trump and his co-conspirators suppressed evidence that their claims of voter fraud were false and attacked those who disagreed
Evidence that Trump encouraged violence in support of his efforts to avoid the peaceful transfer of power, including his support of the Proud Boys
Evidence that Trump has openly and proudly supported January 6 rioters
The most interesting tidbit, which I don’t believe we had heard before, relates to the vote counting in Michigan. Prosecutors said they will introduce evidence that as votes were being counted in Detroit, a campaign employee exchanged a series of text messages with a campaign attorney encouraging rioting and other methods of obstruction when the vote started to trend Biden’s way.
The Government will also show that around the time of these messages, an election official at the TCF Center observed that as Biden began to take the lead, a large number of untrained individuals flooded the TCF Center and began making illegitimate and aggressive challenges to the vote count. Thereafter, Trump made repeated false claims regarding election activities at the TCF Center, when in truth his agent was seeking to cause a riot to disrupt the count.
This campaign employee appears to be a previously unknown, unindicted co-conspirator. Some of the information is redacted, so we may need to wait until trial to hear the whole story.
The Brooks Brothers Riot - Miami, Nov. 2000 (Credit: Colin Braley/Reuters)
Those who were around in 2000 might remember the infamous “Brooks Brothers riot,” when Republican staffers led a demonstration to try to stop or disrupt the vote count in Miami-Dade County, Florida during the contested election between Al Gore and George W. Bush. It seems the playbook hasn’t changed that much.
Here’s some historical trivia for you: Republican activist and Trump advisor Roger Stone (who was convicted of obstruction of justice after covering up for Trump regarding Russia and the 2016 election) was one of the organizers of the Brooks Brothers riot. And Supreme Court justices John Roberts, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett all worked on the Florida recount on Bush’s behalf as attorneys in private practice.
Trump Appeals Immunity Denial and Seeks a Stay: On Thursday, as expected, Trump appealed Judge Chutkan’s denial of his motions to dismiss based on presidential immunity and double jeopardy. This is the scenario we discussed last week: these motions give him a right to a pretrial appeal, which could delay the trial if the courts aren’t willing to move quickly enough to resolve them.