At NYU Law Forum, experts discuss the pending criminal cases against Trump

On October 4, at an NYU Law Forum, former federal prosecutors Andrew Weissmann, Professor of Practice at NYU Law, and Mary McCord, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center, recorded a live session of the MSNBC podcast that they co-host, Prosecuting Donald Trump, which examines recent developments in the cases against the former president.

The co-hosts were joined this episode by special guest Trevor Morrison, Eric M. and Laurie B. Roth Professor of Law and dean emeritus of the Law School, an expert in constitutional law and the executive branch. The Forum was co-sponsored by the Reiss Center on Law and Security.

Watch video of the Forum discussion:

Among topics discussed were the gag order issued against Trump in his New York civil business fraud case for his remarks regarding a judge’s court staff; the efforts by Trump and two co-defendants, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and former US Department of Justice official Jeffrey Clark, to remove their cases from state court to federal court; and whether the Fourteenth Amendment enables state officials to bar Trump from running for president in 2024.

Selected remarks from the Forum:

Andrew Weissmann: “[The gag order] is not a First Amendment issue…When you are a defendant out on bail or you are in a court proceeding, and here obviously in the civil case…there are restrictions on what you can and cannot say…To be continuing to kind of make the statements that he’s been making while he’s got a motion pending [in criminal court in Georgia]…and a gag order here, I think these are things that are also going to be considered by other judges in other cases.” [Video, 10:09]

Trevor Morrison: “Did the president ‘engage in insurrection or give aid and comfort to those who did’ [in the words of Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment]? That’s the hard factual question about January 6th…. I think you can make a very good argument that the answer is yes. I think the real question is: what will the Supreme Court say about this?… If I had to predict, I would say the Court, which is going to answer this question inevitably, is going to basically duck it by saying it needs implementing legislation. But I don’t think that’s the right answer.” [Video, 46:35]

Mary McCord: “Intent is part of almost every criminal offense, including offenses that have been charged against Mr. Trump. But even if you honestly believe something, that doesn’t mean you can go commit crimes…[If] you honestly believe that the bank miscalculated the interest on your savings account…you don’t get to go rob the bank because you honestly and truly believe that they miscalculated the interest.” [Video, 57:01]

Posted October 18, 2023.