(Bloomberg) -- Donald Trump has a years-long pattern of sowing mistrust in US elections and angling “to remain in power at any cost — even in the face of potential violence,” federal prosecutors allege.

In a court filing Tuesday, Special Counsel John “Jack” Smith’s office detailed a plan to introduce a “historical record” of the former president’s statements and actions in the election obstruction case against him in Washington. Prosecutors want a jury to see evidence of events that took place before and after the allegations in the indictment charging Trump with conspiring to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

The filing offers new insight into the government’s strategy ahead of a trial next year. Prosecutors say they want to present evidence that Trump made baseless claims of widespread voter fraud as far back as 2012 and refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he lost in 2016 as well as in 2020. They say they also plan to show Trump retaliated against individuals who pushed back on election fraud claims, encouraged harassment and threats against adversaries, and expressed support for individuals charged with attacking the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

The trial in the federal case against Trump in Washington is set to begin March 4, one of four criminal cases he currently faces in the midst of his latest campaign for the White House. 

Trump recently lost an effort to get the case dismissed on the grounds that he’s entitled to absolute immunity because he was president during time of the allegations. His lawyers are expected to appeal and ask to put the rest of the case on hold in the meantime, potentially delaying the trial.

Federal court rules restrict the government from introducing evidence about activities that aren’t directly related to the charges in an indictment. In the latest filing, prosecutors argued that the evidence of what Trump did and said years before the 2020 election and since he left office are essential to proving their case. 

 

Motive, Intent

If US District Judge Tanya Chutkan disagrees and holds that the evidence isn’t directly related to the charges, prosecutors argue that it should still be allowed in at trial because it establishes Trump’s “motive,” “intent,” “preparation” and “common plan.”

The Justice Department’s filing shows prosecutors have collected years of Trump’s public statements and social media activity. They cited a Trump tweet from 2012 claiming voter fraud in the presidential race that year between then-candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, as well as statements he made during his 2016 campaign.

The government wants to introduce comments Trump made during a September 2020 presidential debate encouraging members of the Proud Boys extremist group to “stand back and stand by” and his continued attacks on two Georgia election workers years later. 

Prosecutors also shared that they have evidence of a 2020 Trump campaign employee sending messages to a lawyer involved in supporting the campaign’s election day operations in Detroit encouraging “rioting and other methods of obstruction” when the person learned the vote count was going in President Joe Biden’s favor.

Trump’s expressions of public support for people charged in the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol — including former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio, who was convicted of seditious conspiracy — would show that the “disruption of the certification proceeding is exactly what the defendant intended on January 6,” prosecutors said.

The government said that evidence of Trump floating potential pardons for Jan. 6 riot defendants would “help the jury assess the credibility and motives of trial witnesses, because through such comments, the defendant is publicly signaling that the law does not apply to those who act at his urging regardless of the legality of their actions.”

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