Former U.S. President Donald Trump enters Erie Insurance Arena for a political rally while campaigning for the GOP nomination in the 2024 election on July 29, 2023 in Erie, Pennsylvania.
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Former President Donald Trump said the federal case charging him with trying to overturn his 2020 election loss should be moved out of “anti-Trump” Washington, D.C.
Trump made the remarks on the eve of his arraignment in the nation’s capital, and as law enforcement officers worked late into the night putting up dozens of barricades and other security measures.
Decrying President Joe Biden as “crooked” and federal prosecutor Jack Smith as “deranged,” Trump in a social media post late Wednesday said he hoped the criminal case would be moved to “an impartial Venue, such as the politically unbiased nearby State of West Virginia!”
Trump won West Virginia by more than 30 points in the 2020 election.
Trump said it would be “IMPOSSIBLE” for him to get a fair trial in Washington, in part because he has called for “a Federal TAKEOVER” in the district “in order to bring our Capital back to Greatness.”
The former president’s post on Truth Social came just hours before he was expected to travel to D.C. for a 4 p.m. ET appearance before a federal magistrate judge at the E. Barrett Prettyman courthouse.
Police gather outside the E. Barrett Prettyman US Courthouse in Washington, DC, on August 3, 2023, ahead of the arraignment of former US president Donald Trump.
Stefani Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images
The indictment filed against Trump on Tuesday charges him with perpetrating multiple conspiracies to subvert the legitimate results of the 2020 election. Among them was his attempt to obstruct Congress from certifying Biden’s win at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. As a violent mob of Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol, Trump and his co-conspirators “exploited the disruption” by pushing lawmakers to delay the certification, the indictment alleges.
The federal courthouse is a 15-minute walk from the U.S. Capitol.
Trump now faces major criminal charges in two federal cases, both of which were brought by Smith, who was appointed special counsel in November by Attorney General Merrick Garland. Trump was charged in June in connection with Smith’s other probe centered on the former president’s retention of classified documents after leaving office in 2021.
Trump has also been charged by Manhattan prosecutors with falsifying business records related to hush money payments to women who say they had extramarital affairs with him. Trump has pleaded not guilty in the documents case and the hush money case. He has denied the alleged trysts.
John Lauro, a defense attorney for Trump, has suggested that the legal team will seek to move the case to a different venue.
“We’re looking for a more diverse area that has a more balanced political jury pool,” Lauro told NPR on Wednesday. “And West Virginia was a state that was more evenly divided” than D.C., he said.
West Virginia does have more evenly split voter registration statistics than in D.C., where a whopping 76.6% of registered voters are Democrats, according to the latest monthly report from the district’s board of elections.
But while D.C. voted overwhelmingly against Trump in 2020 and 2016, West Virginia gave Trump a larger margin of victory against Biden than any state except Wyoming.
Trump’s post Wednesday night slammed D.C. as “a high crime embarrassment to our Nation and, indeed, the World.”
Trump, who is running for president again and is currently the top contender for the 2024 Republican nomination, also repeated his assertion that the indictment amounts to election interference against him.