Pelosi Says Trump Needs to ‘Prove Innocence’ After Indictment Announced

Pelosi Says Trump Needs to ‘Prove Innocence’ After Indictment Announced
Former U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi delivers remarks at a press conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Oct. 31, 2019. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Zachary Stieber
Former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is drawing criticism for claiming former President Donald Trump must prove his innocence after an indictment was announced.

A grand jury in New York opted to indict Trump. Details remain under seal.

“The Grand Jury has acted upon the facts and the law. No one is above the law, and everyone has the right to a trial to prove innocence,” Pelosi, who is still a member of Congress, wrote on Twitter.

“Hopefully, the former President will peacefully respect the system, which grants him that right,” Pelosi added.

Under the U.S. justice system, a person is innocent until proven guilty, Rudy Giuliani and other critics noted.

“Wrong. So obviously wrong. Most Middle Schoolers know this—at least they used to, when civics and the Constitution was respected in schools. You’re innocent until proven guilty,” Giuliani, a former lawyer to Trump and a former mayor of New York City, said in response to Pelosi’s post.

“This exactly the opposite of how this works. Nobody is required to ‘prove innocence’ in our criminal justice system. See the 5th, 6th, 8th, and 14th Amendments,” Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.) said.

“The burden of proof is on the government to prove guilt, not on Trump to prove his innocence. Your disregard for individual rights and your love for limitless government is frightening,” Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) added.

Donald Trump Jr., one of Trump’s sons, also reacted, saying Pelosi has a “false sense of The Law!”

Readers on Twitter are able to add notes to posts, and a note was appended to Pelosi’s.

“Ms. Pelosi mistakenly says that Trump can prove his innocence at trial,” the note states. “Law in the US assumes the innocence of a defendant and the prosecution must prove guilt for a conviction.”

It linked to a Cornell Law School webpage explaining the presumption of innocence.

Pelosi’s office did not respond to a request for comment on the criticism.

Pelosi has not otherwise commented on the indictment of Trump, a Republican who left office in early 2021.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat who took office in January 2022, has been probing Trump over a $130,000 payment made by Michael Cohen, another former Trump lawyer, to adult actress Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election.

Daniels has alleged Trump had an affair with her, which he has denied. The payment was purportedly made to ensure Daniels kept quiet about the matter.

Trump said in a statement that he’s facing political persecution and election interference. He is running for president in the 2024 election.