Donald Trump

Justice or Persecution? The Trump Dilemma

Join Reason on YouTube and Facebook at 12 p.m. Eastern for a discussion of the Trump indictments with Ilya Somin of the Volokh Conspiracy.


"Trump's attempt to overturn the 2020 election well deserves punishment from the standpoint of both retribution and deterrence," wrote George Mason University Law Professor Ilya Somin following the four-count indictment filed by Special Counsel Jack Smith in early August. "For the head of state in a democracy, there are few more serious crimes than using fraud to try to stay in power after losing an election."

Somin has also said that "some of the charges seem compelling" in the case against Trump in Fulton County, Georgia.

Critics of the indictments have pointed out the conspicuous timing of the scheduled trial date, accused Trump's prosecutors of trying to "criminalize speech," and suggested that the former president is being held to a double standard. Others worry the prosecution will inspire "ever more aggressive tit-for-tat investigations."

Join Reason's Zach Weissmueller and Liz Wolfe for a live discussion about the political and social ramifications of the Trump indictments with Somin this Thursday at 12 p.m. Eastern on Reason's YouTube channel or Facebook page.

Sources referenced in this conversation:

Ilya Somin: "Retribution, Deterrence, and the Case for Prosecuting Trump for Conspiring to Overturn the 2020 Election

Ilya Somin: "The Georgia Case Against Trump

William Baude and Michael Stokes Paulsen on Trump's presidential eligibility and the 14th Amendment 

The Washington Post: "FBI resisted opening probe into Trump's involvement in Jan. 6 for more than a year"

John Eastman's memo for how to challenge the 2020 election results

Ilya Somin: "Conservative Legal Luminaries Release Report Entitled 'Lost, Not Stolen: The Conservative Case that Trump Lost and Biden Won the 2020 Presidential Election'"

Ilya Somin on the 14th Amendment's Section 3 disqualification for office