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December 06, 2023 04:18 PM UTC

Trump Lawyer: Insurrection Involves More than One Building and More than Three Hours

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

The Colorado Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments today in the case of whether or not Republican Donald Trump should be barred from the 2024 Presidential ballot in Colorado on account of the fact that he incited an insurrection. Today’s arguments are part of an appeal from a November ruling in which Denver District Court Judge Sarah B. Wallace ruled that Trump had indeed incited an insurrection on Jan. 6 but that it was unclear to her that the 14th Amendment specifically applies to the office of President.

During today’s hearing, Trump attorney Scott Gessler — the former Colorado Secretary of State — twisted himself into verbal knots in an effort to establish his own definition of an “insurrection.” You can watch for yourself in the clip below, or read the transcript that follows:


GESSLER: If you look at some of the authorities here, that the petitioners cite, they’ll shift from insurrection in some instances and draw examples from treason and rebellion. So they are used very interchangeably.

So we would argue that, sort of on the scale of violence, and duration, and scope, and organization, the events of Jan. 6 were more like a riot, and far less like…far less than a rebellion. And insurrection is far closer to rebellion than it is riot. [Pols Emphasis]

CHIEF JUSTICE BRIAN BOATRIGHT: How would you define insurrection?

GESSLER: [long pause and sigh] Part of my thesis is that we can’t define it, and that is in part why this is a non-justiciable question. To the extent you push me, which you are, I would say it requires at least multiple considerations that go beyond what we had here. I think the duration has to be longer than three hours. Um, I think the geographical scope has to be larger than one building. And you said, ‘Well, that was the U.S. Capitol.’ True. It wasn’t the Pentagon. It was a singular node. The goal wasn’t to nullify governmental authority and set up an alternative government…[Pols emphasis]


GESSLER: The goal as…if one assumes…if one assumes the predicate that if President Trump directed the crowd, which we reject, to get Mike Pence – Vice President Pence – to delay the certification…that’s not nullification. And I understand it’s violence, and I understand it’s bad. But we, as, and I would submit, as lawyers in this process, need to distinguish those gradations.

Not a real insurrection, according to Trump attorney Scott Gessler

In short, Gessler claims that a true “insurrection” must last longer than three hours and encompass more than one building. This would be sort of like arguing that 9/11 was not a real terrorist attack because it lasted less than three hours but did involve more than one building.

The reality of the Jan. 6 insurrection would defy Gessler’s own definition, since the invasion of the U.S. Capitol lasted at least five hours and probably longer if you count the time until the Capitol was fully cleared and declared safe. Regardless, this is all completely absurd and Scott Gessler is in no way someone whom we should look toward for a definition of what makes something a REAL insurrection.


6 thoughts on “Trump Lawyer: Insurrection Involves More than One Building and More than Three Hours

  1. Scott Gessler is the slime you scrape from the bottom of the attorney barrel,  after all your other lawyers have been indicted or  disbarred. His definitions of "insurrection" were also  pulled dripping from his nether orifice, and even he can't hope to impress SCOTUS with them. 

  2. Gessler has really gone wacky.  I litigated cases against him before he was SOS, and he was a decent lawyer from the other side of the aisle.  But his time at SOS and his 2020 election nutiness show that he has not only drunk the kool-aid, but is helping make the next batch.  His argument was unimpressive, particularly since he has some relatively good legal arguments.  I suspect his marching orders were to focus on undoing the insurrectionist finding, but he didn't really achieve that goal.  I haven't read the briefs, so I don't know how they addressed that there.  My guess is the CO supreme court says this is a nonjusticiable question, but that's just a guess. 

  3. The Justices should accept Gessler's requirement that an insurrection requires more than one building and more than three hours.

    Then, they find that the insurrection started months before January 6th, and that conspiratorial acts in support of the insurrection occurred all over the country (at least Michigan, Georgia, Nevada, and Wisconsin–all states where fake electors met to steal the election). The attack on the Capitol was merely the culmination.

  4. When these jackasses land in court, a place that demands much more accountability for spoken words than the off-center social media soundbites their accustomed to…they melt into mumbo-jumbo lizards in search of a space to hide under the nearest rock.

    Gessler is possibly accurate…an insurrection in our democracy should take more than three or five hours. Since the House Committee heard first person testimonies about Trump's interactions with all kinds of seditionists, many months leading up to Jan 6…just where is Gessler headed with his case?   

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