Former President Donald Trump appeared in court on Thursday on felony charges related to his alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. For many experts and observers, an indictment tied to Trump’s “big lie” was long in the cards—and all but expected. During media interviews since the charges were unveiled this week, Trump’s attorneys have put forward an argument in his defense: that the speech for which he is being indicted is protected under the First Amendment.
What’s more, they contend that the actions Trump took in the aftermath of the election, which include allegedly participating in a scheme to organize fraudulent slates of electors, among other moves, were on the advice of counsel. All in all, the argument doesn’t hold water, says Dan Urman, director of the law and public policy minor at Northeastern, who teaches courses on the Supreme Court.
“The bottom line is the First Amendment does not protect criminal solicitations,” Urman says. “That’s what precedent tells us.”