Legal expert: Trump is using the 'O.J. Simpson defense' because he knows the DOJ has him nailed
O.J. Simpson, Donald Trump. (AFP Photos)

In a column for the conservative Bulwark, attorney Philip Rotner claimed that Donald Trump is trying out what he calls the "O.J. Simpson defense" of alleging a massive law enforcement conspiracy to frame him because he knows the Department of Justice is closing in.

Coming on the heels of an FBI appearance at Mar-a-Lago with a warrant seeking classified information, the former president added his voice on Friday morning to the chorus of his defenders suggesting FBI agents were planting evidence during their visit.

According to Rotner, Trump's protestations are not surprising when one considers the mounting evidence piling up against him. To make his point, he cited the O.J. Simpson murder trial.

"The case against him looked airtight. A mountain of forensic evidence—including blood and hair and fibers, bloody shoe prints, and a glove found at the scene matching one of Simpson’s—pointed to his guilt. And as if the forensic evidence weren’t enough, prosecutors presented evidence of Simpson’s pathological jealousy, his history of domestic violence and threats, and the lack of an alibi or any witnesses to his whereabouts at the time of the murders," he wrote. "Yet Simpson was acquitted. His defense team turned the tables to portray law enforcement as the culprit and Simpson as the victim. They argued, without a shred of direct evidence, that all of the incriminating forensic evidence was either planted by police officers who were out to get Simpson or mishandled by bumbling investigators."

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Pointing out that Trump appears to be using the Simpson playbook, Rotner claimed that only a guilty person would resort to grabbing at law enforcement conspiracy straws.

"You don’t claim, without a shred of evidence, that law enforcement planted documents during a search and seizure unless you believe that they found something incriminating," he explained. "If you believe that the evidence seized was exculpatory or merely innocuous, you don’t cast doubt on it. Just the opposite. You use the evidence to your advantage."

According to the attorney, for the moment it seems to be working for the former president -- at least with his rabid followers.

"Whatever the evidence, if Team Trump can convince people that it was planted, it’s toothless as far as the public is concerned," he explained. "So it is incumbent on the government to get this right. We can only hope that the FBI agents who conducted the search created a meticulous record of what they found at Mar-a-Lago and where they found it. Without a bulletproof chain of custody, Trump’s O.J. Defense could work, just like it worked for O.J., no matter what they actually found."

He then warned, "If Trump were indicted and tried for crimes based on anything found at Mar-a-Lago, the O.J. Defense could work. Maybe it wouldn’t get him acquitted, but it would only take a single Trump die-hard to hang the jury. In the end, that may be Trump’s best—and perhaps only—defense."

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