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October 31, 2023 03:06 PM UTC

Okay For Socialists, Okay For Trump Says Scott Gessler

  • by: Colorado Pols
Trump attorney and former Secretary of State Scott Gessler (R).

The Denver Post’s Nick Coltrain reports from the trial playing out this week in Denver District Court, seeking to force Secretary of State Jena Griswold to remove ex-President Donald Trump from the 2024 Republican primary ballot under the 14th Amendment’s Insurrection Clause barring people who try to overthrow the government from running to lead it. The trial pits a group of unaffiliated and Republican plaintiffs against former GOP Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s law firm, who previously represented the Trump campaign in December of 2020 in lawsuits seeking to overturn the results of the presidential election in Nevada:

The plaintiffs called police officers who watched the siege unfold to the stand. The first witness, Officer Daniel Hodges of the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department, testified about being assaulted by members of the crowd that gathered outside the Capitol. That includes one person who tried to gouge out his eye, Hodges said.

The plaintiffs played body camera footage that showed protestors swarming Hodges and his colleagues and yelling epithets at them. Hodges called the events of Jan. 6 “horrific,” “a terrorist attack” and an assault on democracy…

We are aware of the differing opinions on the efficacy of a lawsuit to exclude Trump from the ballot instead of entrusting Colorado Republican voters to do the job. With that said, Gessler’s argument before the court yesterday relied on some interesting precedent to say the least:

Trump’s attorneys argued that, without any legal conviction for insurrection, the lawsuit’s charge is nebulous. Scott Gessler, a former Colorado secretary of state who’s part of Trump’s team, cited the precedent of Eugene V. Debs, a socialist politician a century ago. Debs was allowed to run for president despite serving time in prison for sedition for publicly discouraging military recruitment during World War I. [Pols emphasis]

“When there are many definitions (of insurrection), that really means there are none,” Gessler said. “… Frankly, they’re making up the standards so it fits the facts of Jan. 6.”

If you feel it’s necessary to factually counter Gessler’s eyebrow-raising citation of early 20th Century Socialist firebrand Eugene V. Debs as precedent for excusing Trump’s incitement of the January 6th, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol at all, it’s probably enough to remember that Debs wasn’t convicted of inciting any actual violence. If Eugene Debs had ever organized a violent assault on the U.S. Capitol on the order of January 6th, his sentence for sedition would much more likely have been to hang.

As for “the facts of January 6th,” Gessler’s credibility to speak to that is only slightly better than fellow Trump attorneys like Jenna Ellis who have pled guilty–and in Gessler’s case, only because he wasn’t charged in Georgia. Gessler’s legal fiction for Trump in 2020 was in Nevada. Gessler has been a megaphone for unfounded misinformation and conspiracy theories for over a decade since his election as Secretary of State in 2010, which made him a natural fit for Trump’s legal team in 2020 and beyond.

If Gessler isn’t careful in how he argues Trump’s case today, he could still join his contemporaries in professional ruin.


7 thoughts on “Okay For Socialists, Okay For Trump Says Scott Gessler

  1. Gessler lost any credibility he had left when he embraced the election denialism promoted by his client.  I had cases against him in the past, and he wasn't always this wacky.  He is now, though.  

    1. What can you say about a guy who accepts a job knowing precisely what it pays, only to complain that it doesn't pay enough after he starts work.

    2. Gessler was a hot mess when he argued for the Green Mountain Water District in 2021. Gessler

      …was reportedly rude and profane to GMWD customers at the Monday board meeting. According to Brenda Bronson, who attended the meeting, Gessler

      • –  demonstrated a total lack of control by interrupting every single person who tried to speak on the topic
      • –  used bullying & profanity & name calling instead of professional communication (“crap” “liar” , called two people of color – Charles Torres and Christopher Arlen “cockroaches”)
      • –  yelled “you’re crazy” to one and declared “you don’t have a brain in your head” to another
      1. The cases I had back with him were pre-2011, and though we were on opposite sides with very different views, I could get along with him as reasonable opposing counsel.  He was a fierce advocate then, but professional and courteous.  Since he left the SOS gig it's been a downhill snowball.  He's burned a lot of bridges on the right in recent years.  I don't know whether he believes his own BS or not, but the last exchange I had with him (over the lack of evidence of voter fraud in 2020) leads me to believe he does and that there's no coming back.  I hope he got a big retainer on the 14th amendment case. 

  2. Yep. Torn between uproarious laughter and righteous anger on this one. Debs is a hero of mine…and his so-called "sedition" was in the service of stopping violence…tried to persuade people to dodge WW1. Not the same universe as Trump, Scotty…

  3. Colorado won’t be the only state keeping $rump off the ballot. If the lawsuit succeeds here, it will set precedent for Michigan, Minnesota, ( pending) New Hampshire, ( dismissed) , New Mexico, and Rhode Island to do the same. It will likely be decided by the Supreme Court, but in time for the 2024 election? 

    We still have to register voters, overcome apathy and get out the vote, but the more chaos on the Republican side, the better.

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