New Mexico connection would be ‘front and center’ in potential Trump trial

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Former President Donald Trump is scheduled to face a federal judge Thursday in D.C. after prosecutors announced on Tuesday an indictment related to attempts to overturn the 2020 election results. 

There’s a connection to New Mexico.

The state was one of seven that had a group of Republicans who sent what prosecutors call false electors. They signed a document that showed former President Trump won New Mexico, despite President Biden winning handily. 

Federal prosecutors said those were efforts to delay or block the certification of election results and, ultimately, to try to overturn the election. The actions are central to their investigation, which focuses on the buildup to the Jan. 6, 2021 riots at the U.S. Capitol. 

University of New Mexico Law Professor Joshua Kastenberg has been following every development. 

“These charges are weighty, and if found guilty – and that’s a big if – they carry a significant number of years,” Kastenberg said. 

He believes New Mexico would be “front and center” in a potential trial. 

Prosecutors will try to prove a link between Trump and the efforts to overturn election results. 

“So I think there will be some of that in this trial between our New Mexicans who were involved in the false elector scenario and the former president. You probably won’t have a direct call,” Kastenberg said. 

He said it could be enough for prosecutors to prove his allies presented the plan to him. That includes one of six co-conspirators in the indictment – John Eastman, an attorney who lives in Santa Fe. 

Prosecutors said they have notes from meetings between Trump and his allies, including from former Vice President Mike Pence.

“It’s powerful evidence,” Kastenberg said. 

Kastenberg believes former President Trump’s defense argument could include that he didn’t expect there would be a riot on Jan. 6, despite people telling him there was no fraud he still believed he won the election, and he didn’t know about what was happening in places like New Mexico. 

The former president is calling the prosecution “corrupt,” and saying it’s interfering in his 2024 election campaign. 

The New Mexico Republican Party chairman sent a statement to KOB 4, saying the indictment is “politically motivated” and without “credibility”. Regarding the false electors, they said they only took that action in case there were successful legal challenges over fraud.