Dershowitz tells Fox that Trump can dodge most of the indictment, apart from one thing

"The rest of it, I think, can easily be defeated on legal and factual grounds," Dershowitz says, isolating one item

By Kelly McClure

Nights & Weekends Editor

Published June 9, 2023 9:04PM (EDT)

Attorney Alan Dershowitz (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Attorney Alan Dershowitz (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

During a segment of Fox Business on Friday, attorney Alan Dershowitz — who defended Donald Trump in his 2020 impeachment trial — weighed in on the details of the former president's indictment, expressing his belief that most of it can be dodged, apart from one thing.

Referencing the 44-page indictment that was unsealed a day after it was put into effect, which he said he "read very carefully," Dershowitz told Host Larry Kudlow, a former Trump economic adviser, that only one page "has anything of substance to it."

"The stuff about moving boxes, that's all covered by the Presidential Records Act, probably not criminal at all," he said. "The one page that's of concern, obviously, if it's true, is the tape recording that was made of a conversation ex-President Trump had with a writer who was writing a book about Meadows, in which he said, 'look, I have these documents. They're secret. I could have declassified them when I was president, but I didn't.' And then either shows it to him or shows him that he has it."

Explaining this to be the one charge that brought the Espionage Act into the mix, he goes on to poo-poo the rest as being easily defeated on "legal and factual grounds."

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"This is the one that should be worrisome to the president, and he may have an answer for it," Dershowitz furthered. "He may be able to say, 'look, I was just showing off a little bit,'"

Towards the end of the segment, the point is driven home with the attorney issuing a clear prediction of sorts, saying, "There's a lot to fight about. But I'm just telling you, it's the one paragraph, the one page that should cause concern by President Trump."

"Every liberal in the last hundred years has been opposed to the Espionage Act because is had nothing to do with espionage. It deals with dissent, it deals with opposition to war. It deals with speech," Dershowitz said.  "And it's a horrible, horrible statute. But it does cover by its terms transmitting to anybody who's not authorized the contents of classified material. It doesn't require espionage as the title of the statute would seem to imply."

The document referenced in this tape mentioned by Dershowitz — from a  2021 meeting held at Trump's Bedminster golf club — has yet to be located by Trump's lawyers. In a recent appearance on "Meet the Press," attorney Andrew Weissmann said that, physical document or not, the tape is enough to prove Trump's guilt.

"If the document doesn't exist … the evidence on that tape is still useful to show his state of mind," per Weissmann.

By Kelly McClure

Kelly McClure is Salon's Nights and Weekends Editor covering daily news, politics and culture. Her work has been featured in Vulture, The A.V. Club, Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitan, Nylon, Vice, and elsewhere. She is the author of Something is Always Happening Somewhere.

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Aggregate Alan Dershowitz Donald Trump Indictment Mar-a-lago