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Trial Begins In Colorado Over Trump

In a Denver state court, a lawsuit seeking to prevent former President Donald Trump from appearing on Colorado’s 2024 ballot due to his alleged involvement in the January 6, 2021 Capitol attack began on Monday. Second Judicial District Judge Sarah Wallace had previously rejected Trump’s attempts to dismiss the lawsuit, which was filed last month on behalf of six Denver voters. The suit invokes Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which bars individuals from holding office if they have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” after taking an oath to uphold the Constitution. The lawsuit contends that Trump violated his oath of office through his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, culminating in the events of January 6.

The lawsuit is brought forth by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and several law firms, representing a group of Republican and unaffiliated voters. Eric Olson, an attorney for CREW, opened the proceedings by highlighting Trump’s conduct leading up to January 6. He referenced Trump’s tweets and speeches encouraging his supporters to come to Washington, D.C., and promoting false claims of election fraud. Olson played a video clip of Trump’s January 6 speech on the Ellipse, in which the former president said, “Let’s walk down to the Capitol.” Olson argued that Trump was aware of the impact of his words and their potential to incite his supporters.

Olson also pointed to a tweet where Trump criticized then-Vice President Mike Pence for a lack of courage, and a video clip showing Trump supporters outside the Capitol chanting, “Hang Mike Pence.”

Scott Gessler, Trump’s attorney, decried the lawsuit as “antidemocratic” and labeled the hearing as “politicized” in his opening arguments. He emphasized that Trump used the word “peace” several times in his January 6 speech and tweets, contending that the lawsuit sought to endorse the “one-sided poisonous report” from the House January 6 committee. Gessler pledged to present evidence demonstrating that Trump took precautions to prevent violence on January 6 and that the rally outside the Capitol remained peaceful.

Colorado’s Democratic secretary of state, Jena Griswold, did not provide direct evidence of Trump’s involvement in insurrection. However, her deputy elections director would testify about the administration of state election law. The case has national significance, as its outcome could have implications for Trump’s political future and raise questions about whether a former president can be barred from the ballot based on their actions while in office. The trial continues, and its resolution will be closely monitored in Colorado and beyond.

NBC News

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