Author and former Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz said in a Daily Caller column Tuesday that the lawyers for former President Donald Trump in the aftermath of the 2020 election are being criminally prosecuted in Georgia for “giving legal advice.”
“The lawyers who are currently indicted or were included as unindicted co-conspirators were, at least in part, accused based on their rendering legal services: giving legal advice, filing lawsuits on behalf of clients, and making statements, both oral and written, as part of their legal representation of clients,” Dershowitz said in his column. “That is why these charges are much more questionable and controversial than the ones that were brought against former Attorney General John Mitchell, former White House counsel John Ehrlichman and other [former President Richard] Nixon aides who were lawyers.”
Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis handed down a criminal indictment against Trump and 18 co-defendants, many of them lawyers on Trump’s team, in August. They stand accused of violating the state’s Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization statute, usually reserved for those involved in organized crime, in challenging the results of the 2020 presidential election.
In addition to Trump, the indictment charges attorney and former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, attorney Sidney Powell, and attorney Kenneth Chesebro, among others, with conspiring in a criminal enterprise to overturn the results of the election, The Associated Press reported in August.
In his column Tuesday, Dershowitz said that while he feels the legal maneuvering by Trump and his team in the wake of the election may have been “wrongheaded,” that is not a basis to criminally charge the attorneys representing the former president.
“To be sure, lawyers can sometimes go too far in failing or refusing to accept binding and well-established precedents or existing rules, by bringing lawsuits for improper purposes, such as delay or extortion, or by lying to the court,” he said in the column. “But the lines between acceptable and unacceptable legal challenges are generally too uncertain to warrant criminalizing what in retrospect may have been a mistake in judgment or overzealousness.”
He said there could be far-reaching negative consequences for the American justice system if this were to become precedent.
“The prosecutions against Trump’s former lawyers will be vigorously defended against by their lawyers,” he said. “But bar associations and civil liberties groups should be heard as well, because the unjustified prosecution of lawyers for advising their clients and litigating on their behalf — even if overzealously — endangers the adversary system of justice and thus the rights of all Americans.”
Charles Kim ✉
Charles Kim, a Newsmax general assignment writer, is an award-winning journalist with more than 30 years in reporting on news and politics.
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