Legal experts mock Trump's demand to move trial from D.C. to "more diverse" West Virginia

Former prosecutors say Trump's "low approval rating" is not a reason to move trial to deeply red state

By Tatyana Tandanpolie

Staff Writer

Published August 3, 2023 10:16AM (EDT)

Donald Trump (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Donald Trump (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump wants to move his upcoming federal trial from D.C. to West Virginia, arguing that he cannot get a fair trial in the heavily Democratic nation's capital. Trump lawyer John Lauro told CBS News on Wednesday that West Virginia would be a "political opposite" and argued that it was "more diverse" than D.C. "The bottom line is the President, like everyone sitting in this room, is entitled to a fair trial, and we're going to get that," he added.

Trump on Truth Social echoed that sentiment, writing that the case "will hopefully be moved to an impartial Venue, such as the politically unbiased nearby State of West Virginia! IMPOSSIBLE to get a fair trial in Washington, D.C., which is over 95% anti-Trump, & for which I have called for a Federal TAKEOVER in order to bring our Capital back to Greatness. It is now a high crime embarrassment to our Nation and, indeed, the World. This Indictment is all about Election Interference!!!"

Legal experts expressed skepticism at the argument. "Crime in DC, get charged in DC," tweeted Georgia State Law professor Anthony Kreis. National security attorney Bradley Moss mocked Trump for seeking to "Transfer Venue to a State with Fewer Minorities." Former U.S. Attorney Barb McQuade said Trump's move is "unlikely" to succeed. "Low approval rating is not the test. He must show that an impartial jury cannot be found in all of DC," she wrote. Former Mueller prosecutor Andrew Weissmann agreed that "Trump motion to change venue will be rejected as the crime was so nationally televised that all venues were exposed."