OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
An attorney general is calling for changing former President Donald Trump’s trial over Jan. 6 Capitol riot allegations to his state to ensure he gets a “fair” trial.
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said he doesn’t believe there is any way that Trump gets treated fairly by a Washington, D.C., jury, given that more than 92 percent of the city’s registered voters are Democrats.
“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,” Morrisey told Fox News host Maria Bartiromo on Sunday. “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.”
Smith 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 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.
As for Morrisey, he made a good 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
Several other Republicans have made a similar argument.
“I don’t think any Republican, much less any ‘America First’-type Republican, could ever expect to have a fair trial in a D.C. setting with a D.C. judge and D.C. jury,” Ned Ryun, the CEO of American Majority, told The Hill last week.
“Of course, it’s a rigged game. I think any fair-minded person would step back and say, ‘If you really want this to be a legitimate pursuit of justice, you would not be having it in D.C.’ I don’t think it’s fair. I don’t think it will be legitimate,” Ryun added.
Even Trump’s biggest 2024 challenger, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, came to the former president’s defense.
“Washington, DC is a ‘swamp’ and it is unfair to have to stand trial before a jury that is reflective of the swamp mentality. One of the reasons our country is in decline is the politicization of the rule of law. No more excuses—I will end the weaponization of the federal government,” he tweeted.
As President, I will end the weaponization of government, replace the FBI Director, and ensure a single standard of justice for all Americans.
While I’ve seen reports, I have not read the indictment. I do, though, believe we need to enact reforms so that Americans have the right…
— Ron DeSantis (@RonDeSantis) August 1, 2023