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Savannah Guthrie interviews Trump’s attorney on TODAY

Trump attorney John Lauro addressed the latest indictment against the former president, saying it "criminalized" Trump's First Amendment right to speech.
/ Source: TODAY

John Lauro, an attorney for former President Donald Trump, said on TODAY he's confident Trump will win at trial over charges that he conspired to defraud the U.S. and attempted to prevent the peaceful transfer of presidential power to Joe Biden. 

"Absolutely, we're going to win," Lauro told TODAY's Savannah Guthrie on Wednesday.

Trump was indicted Tuesday on counts of conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, conspiracy against voting rights and obstruction of an official proceeding.

The indictment from special counsel Jack Smith's office is the third indictment of Trump this year, and comes after months of investigation and grand jury proceedings.

Smith's office said on Tuesday they'd like to see a speedy trial. Savannah asked Lauro if he would be ready for a trial about 70 days away.

Lauro responded the right to a speedy trial belongs to the defendant, not the prosecution.

"We're entitled to understand what the charges are. We're entitled to do our own investigation," he said. "To take President Trump to trial in 90 days, of course, is absurd.

"The question is, why do they want to do that? If you want to seek justice, then you need to offer President Trump an opportunity to get a hold of all the evidence and understand what the facts are," he said.

Lauro said Smith's office has had more than three years to investigate Trump, and that the defense should have the same amount of time to prepare for a trial.

"He had three and a half years," Lauro said. "Why don't we make it equal? The bottom line is that they have 60 federal agents working on this. Sixty lawyers, all kinds of government personnel, and we get this indictment and they want to go to trial in 90 days. Does that sound like justice to you?"

"Is it justice to force a former president of the United States to trial in 90 days when you've had three years?" he asked.

When asked if he would like to see the case resolved before the election, Lauro said he wants to be able to see all of the evidence.

"This is the first time that the First Amendment has been criminalized. It's the first time that a sitting president is attacking a political opponent on First Amendment grounds and basically making it criminal to state your position and to engage in political activity," Lauro said.

Savannah pointed out the indictment specifically says the president has a First Amendment right to speech, adding, "This indictment is criminalizing conduct, not speech."

"(Special counsel) Jack Smith saw this very argument coming," Savannah said. "It says he is being indicted for conduct using unlawful means of discounting legitimate votes, and subverting the election results."

Lauro said Trump had a right to take action in the political sphere, similar to how a member of Congress may filibuster a law they oppose.

"There's nothing wrong with a filibuster, there is something wrong with sending fake electors, trying to go beyond and around the law," Savannah said.

Lauro said Trump had an opinion of counsel from an attorney that his request to then-Vice President Mike Pence to go along with a plan to use fake electors in certain battleground states to change election results was “completely lawful.”

Savannah noted Trump also had many opinions from his own White House counsel that it was not legal.

"You're entitled to believe and trust advice of counsel," Lauro responded. "You have one of the leading constitutional scholars in the United States, John Eastman, say to President Trump, 'This is a protocol that you can follow. It's legal.' That eliminates criminal intent."

Lauro emphasized he believes Smith's office wants to go to trial to keep Trump from debating issues in 2024.

"Right now they want to go to trial so that instead of debating the issues against Joe Biden, President Trump is sitting in a courtroom," he said. "How is that justice? The American people want to talk about the issues, what they don't want to do is re-litigate the 2020 election."