Donald Trump wants his election subversion trial moved out of Washington. That won’t be easy

Donald Trump and his legal team face long odds in their bid to move his 2020 election conspiracy trial out of Washington, arguing the Republican can’t possibly get a fair trial in the overwhelmingly Democratic nation’s capital.

Criminal defendants routinely try to have their cases moved to increase their chances of getting a favorable jury. Trump and his attorney say they’re eying West Virginia, which Trump easily won in 2020.

But there’s a notoriously high bar for proving the jury pool is so biased or tainted by pretrial publicity that the trial must be moved. Such efforts have failed in some of the most high-profile American trials in recent memory. And judges appointed by presidents of both political parties in Washington’s federal court — including the judge overseeing Trump’s trial — have repeatedly rejected similar attempts by many of the more than 1,000 Trump supporters charged in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.

“Jurors’ political leanings are not, by themselves, evidence that those jurors cannot fairly and impartially consider the evidence presented and apply the law as instructed by the court,” U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, the judge appointed to Trump’s case, wrote last year in denying one Jan. 6 defendant’s bid to change venue.

Trump’s defense team has yet to formally make such a request in the case accusing Trump of conspiring with allies to overturn his 2020 presidential election defeat. But Trump’s lawyer, John Lauro, said on CBS News on Sunday that it “absolutely” plans to do so.

“The President, like everyone sitting in this room, is entitled to a fair trial, and we’re going to get that,” Lauro said.

Trump faces charges including conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and obstruction of Congress in the first case that seeks to hold the former President criminally responsible for his efforts to cling to power after he lost to Democrat Joe Biden. He has denied any wrongdoing, and he claims that special counsel Jack Smith is targeting him in an effort to hurt his 2024 campaign.

If Trump’s case stays in Washington, his trial will take place less than a mile (1.6 kilometers) from where the Capitol was attacked on Jan. 6 by an angry mob whipped up by his election lies and intent on stopping the certification of Biden’s electoral victory. The courthouse, which has a view of the Capitol dome from its windows, has already been the site of several high-profile Jan. 6 trials, including the seditious conspiracy cases against leaders of the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers extremist groups.

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