Rudy Giuliani blasted Tuesday night’s indictment of former President Donald Trump for his role in attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 election, claiming the charges against Trump are “a violation of his right of free speech.”
Giuliani, the former personal attorney to Trump, told Newsmax on Tuesday that the former president is “getting indicted for exercising his right of free speech.”
“I think I have to remind these guys he’s an American citizen,” Giuliani said, later adding: “I don’t care if you hate, this is a violation of his free speech. You even have a right to lie under the First Amendment.”
“Now he didn’t,” Giuliani added, before claiming that those charging Trump with conspiring against rights should “be indicted for conspiracy against rights for bringing this indictment.”
Giuliani is named as a co-conspirator in the indictment as an “attorney who was willing to spread knowingly false claims and pursue strategies that the Defendant’s 2020 re-election campaign attorneys would not.” He, along with the five other listed co-conspirators, will likely face charges in the future.
The former New York City mayor is not the first Trump ally to criticize the indictment on the grounds of free speech.
Trump attorney John Lauro told Fox News the indictment impacts “every American who now realizes that the First Amendment is under assault.”
“The reality is that if a president can be indicted for free speech, then anybody can be indicted,” Lauro said.
Similarly, Fox News commentator Will Cain tweeted on Wednesday that “free speech has been indicted.”
Cain referenced a section of the indictment that specifically noted Trump has the right “to speak publicly about the election and even to claim, falsely, that there had been outcome-determinative fraud during the election and that he had won.”
“But the indictment says he can’t lie about election fraud,” Cain continued. “So they must prove Trump didn’t believe his speech. And then, I would think, they’d need to indict every politician who lies (need to build more jails) about election results (Clinton, Kerry, Abrams).”
But others have rejected the notion that the indictment impedes Trump’s First Amendment rights, arguing that the charges are focused on his actions and those that came in response to his unfounded allegations of widespread election fraud.
“The First Amendment does not protect Donald Trump if he corruptly attempts to persuade, coerce or direct others to ACT on his knowingly false beliefs,” said Rep. Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.) Wednesday.
CNN legal analyst Norm Eisen highlighted that the indictment avoided including Trump’s Jan. 6 speech on the Ellipse, urging supporters to march on the Capitol amid Congress’ certification of the election results.
“It’s very subtle and it sidesteps a huge amount of First Amendment litigation,” Eisen said. “It’s another reason that I think this is going to move fast.”