Ann Turner
August 5, 2023

Alan Dershowitz pushes back on Bill Barr’s take on Trump case

Alan Dershowitz, renowned Harvard Law professor emeritus, has voiced his disagreement with the interpretation of former President Donald Trump's recent indictment by ex-Attorney General Bill Barr.

Dershowitz shared his perspective on The Brian Kilmeade Show, where he discussed the indictment and the potential difficulties that the Justice Department may encounter in establishing Trump's alleged guilt, MSN reports.

According to Dershowitz, the prosecution will have to prove that Trump was not only aware of his loss in the 2020 presidential election but also believed it to have been the case. This, he suggests, could pose a significant challenge for the prosecution.

Free speech at the heart of the case, says Dershowitz

Dershowitz stressed that the case against Trump fundamentally revolves around the issue of free speech.

He argued that Trump's actions were protected not only by the First Amendment's provision for free speech -- a take with which Barr has publicly disagreed -- but also by the right to petition the government for redress of grievances.

He further pointed out that proposing an alternate slate of electors as a form of election protest is a method that has historical precedence. He referred to the Tilden Hayes election of 1960 as an instance of this.

Indictment under scrutiny

Dershowitz expressed concerns about the indictment, alleging it contained a "blatant lie" by Special Counsel Jack Smith. He contended that Smith's portrayal of Trump's speech on Jan. 6th deliberately left out key phrases where Trump called on his supporters to protest "peacefully and patriotically."

"By leaving out those words, it's a lie by omission," Dershowitz declared.

He also criticized the broad scope of the indictment, suggesting it could potentially encompass a wide range of political conduct.

Trump's conviction in his election victory

Dershowitz argued that the government would have to conclusively prove that Trump knew and believed he had lost the election.

He proposed that Trump had persuaded himself that he had won the election, which would undermine any allegations of corrupt motive or intent.

Trump is currently grappling with several legal challenges that include his recent indictment on charges arising from Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into 2020 election interference and the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021.

Trump, who is currently leading the 2024 GOP presidential primary field, is facing four federal charges in that matter alone. These include conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against rights.

Trump's impending court appearance

Trump appeared in federal court in Washington, D.C., for an arraignment last week.

This marks the second federal indictment he faces as a result of Smith’s investigation. He has already pleaded not guilty to 37 counts related to his alleged improper retention of classified records from his presidency.

In addition to these charges, Trump was charged with an additional three counts as part of a superseding indictment out of that probe last week.

He holds the dubious distinction of being the first former president in U.S. history to face federal criminal charges.


  • Alan Dershowitz has publicly disagreed with former Attorney General Bill Barr's interpretation of the recent indictment against former President Donald Trump.
  • Dershowitz argues that the case against Trump is fundamentally a free speech case.
  • He raised concerns about the indictment, suggesting it contained a "blatant lie" by Jack Smith.
  • Dershowitz suggested that Trump had convinced himself that he had won the election, which would negate any corrupt motive or intent.
  • Trump is facing multiple legal challenges and appeared in federal court in Washington, D.C. for an arraignment.

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