OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
A state attorney general is calling on the Justice Department to move Donald Trump’s trial on charges related to the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot out of Washington, D.C., because he says there is no way the former president gets a fair trial in the nation’s capital, because it is so overwhelmingly populated with Democratic voters.
“One of the fundamentals of due process in our criminal justice system is to be able to have a fair trial in a fair tribunal,” West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey told Fox News host Maria Bartiromo. “And does anyone watching, does anyone in America believe that President Trump is going to get a fair shake out of Washington, D.C.?”
“I think most people would say — whether you’re pro-Trump or anti-Trump — you’re not going to get that fair shake,” Morrisey added. “So what I’m suggesting is that this should be moved to West Virginia. We have a number of federal district courthouses that could properly house this. I think that he could get a fair hearing.”
Special counsel Jack Smith has charged Trump with conspiracy and obstruction for attempting to challenge the results of the 2020 election. For comparison, then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and a majority of Democrats claimed for years that Trump’s 2016 victory was “illegitimate,” as was his presidency, and none of them faced prosecution because political speech is supposed to be protected under the Constitution’s First Amendment.
Morrisey made another point about moving the venue to his state.
“I think that there’s no reason why the prosecutor shouldn’t support this move because, Maria, the biggest thing that a prosecutor should be focusing on isn’t just trying to get guilt from the person he’s targeting; it should be to administer justice. That’s the duty of a prosecutor,” the GOP attorney general said, suggesting that if Smith’s case is strong like he says it is, a change in venue shouldn’t be a problem.
“I think that if you move it to West Virginia, you would actually take away a lot of the political concerns that are out there. So I think it’s a strong idea. I think the prosecutors should think very carefully about this and get behind it,” he added.
Morrisey’s remarks to Bartiromo came on the heels of a tweet he posted last week calling for a venue change in Trump’s case.
“Donald Trump is not going to get a fair shake in DC, the home of the Swamp. If prosecutors insist on proceeding with this politicized case, they should move the venue to West Virginia. West Virginians believe in upholding the rule of law and don’t support a double-standard of justice,” he wrote on the platform “X.”
Donald Trump is not going to get a fair shake in DC, the home of the Swamp. If prosecutors insist on proceeding with this politicized case, they should move the venue to West Virginia. West Virginians believe in upholding the rule of law and don’t support a double-standard of…
— Patrick Morrisey (@MorriseyWV) August 3, 2023
A growing number of legal experts on the left and right are coming to Trump’s defense after Smith filed felony charges against the former president over alleged actions stemming from the Capitol riot.
In an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, Georgetown Law School professor Jonathan Turley suggested that the Biden administration’s ongoing persecution of Trump is wearing thin with a sizeable portion of the American public that increasingly sees the cases as entirely political.
“This is a free speech-killing indictment. There’s no way around it. I write a great deal in academia in the free-speech area, and I have rarely seen a more chilling filing by the Department of Justice,” Turley said.
“The question that people have to ask themselves is, when is the price too high? People are enraged, but what is the price too high to bag Donald Trump? This indictment is a prohibitive cost. Meaning what they are attempting to do is criminalize what they consider to be disinformation,” he added.
“This is a speaking indictment, but it doesn’t say very much. It just says that we think Trump is lying and that he didn’t believe this. I can’t tell you how faciously ridiculous this claim is,” he added.