Alan Dershowitz, an attorney defending President Trump in his Senate impeachment trial, argued Friday that his client should not be regarded as having been impeached if he is ultimately acquitted as expected.
Mr. Dershowitz, a retired Harvard Law professor among the president’s legal team, reasoned as much during a television interview ahead of the Senate voting Wednesday on whether to convict Mr. Trump.
Appearing on Fox News, Mr. Dershowitz took issue with a recent comment made by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, about Mr. Trump being “impeached forever” in spite of how the Senate votes.
“She says even if he’s acquitted and vindicated, he’s still impeached. He’s going to have that label forever. That should not be how it is. Why? He didn’t have a fair trial,” said Mr. Dershowitz.
“He was indicted. And what happens after a person is acquitted after indictment? The indictment disappears,” Mr. Dershowitz said about the president.
Democrats controlling the House of Representatives voted in December to impeach Mr. Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, triggering a Senate trial scheduled to be decided Wednesday.
Speaking to Fox News host Sean Hannity, Mr. Dershowitz suggested disregarding the House’s decision to impeach the president should the Republican-controlled Senate vote to acquit Mr. Trump of the charges.
“If he wins this, I think nobody should regard him as having been impeached, any more than you would regard somebody who has been indicted as still being indicted if he won an unanimous 12-person jury on acquittal,” Mr. Dershowitz said on “Hannity.”
Mr. Trump made history last month upon becoming the third president in U.S. history to be impeached by the House, following in the footsteps of predecessors including Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton.
Senators ultimately voted to acquit both Johnson and Mr. Clinton, however, sparing both from convictions that would have resulted in their removal from office.
Ms. Pelosi, the House speaker, told comedian and HBO host Bill Maher last month that Mr. Trump will similarly always be regarded as having been impeached even if he secures an acquittal in the Senate.
“You are impeached forever,” Ms. Pelosi said at the time. “No matter what the Senate does, it can never be erased.”