Courts & Litigation Criminal Justice & the Rule of Law Democracy & Elections

Trump Files Motion to Dismiss for ‘Selective and Vindictive Prosecution’

Katherine Pompilio
Tuesday, October 24, 2023, 12:28 PM
Trump claims that the indictment is vindictive and that prosecutors have “behaved in an…unconstitutionally selective fashion.”

Published by The Lawfare Institute
in Cooperation With

On Oct. 23, former President Donald Trump filed a motion to dismiss the charges against him in his Jan. 6 case in D.C. District court on the basis of selective and vindictive prosecution. 

In the motion, Trump claims that government prosecutors have “behaved in a discriminatory and unconstitutionally selective fashion” in their efforts to prosecute him based on “protected speech” relating to Trump’s attempt to install a slate of alternate electors to overturn the results of the 2020 election. The former president also asserts that the prosecution is “driven by an unconstitutional discriminatory purpose” which he claims is President Joe Biden’s “publicly stated objective to use the criminal justice system to incapacitate [him], his main political rival and the leading candidate in the upcoming election.”

The motion also asserts that Trump’s prosecution is vindictive, characterizing it as a “straightforward retaliatory response” by Biden to Trump’s decisions while in office, as well as “his exercising his constitutional rights to free speech and to petition for the redress of grievances, and his decision to run for political office.”

The motion concludes with a request for a hearing before Judge Tanya Chutkan to demonstrate that prosecutors’ evidence is “pretextual” and “require[s] additional fact finding” before the special counsel’s arguments can be resolved.

You can read the indictment here or below:

Katherine Pompilio is an associate editor of Lawfare. She holds a B.A. with honors in political science from Skidmore College.

Subscribe to Lawfare