Trump 'Extremely Unlikely' to Testify For Most Loyal Followers: Kirschner 

Some of former President Donald Trump's most dedicated followers are about to learn that loyalty to Trump may only go one way, according to former assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia Glenn Kirschner.

Members of the right-wing Proud Boys are hoping that Trump will testify under oath as part of their sedition trial, but Kirschner said it's "extremely unlikely" that Trump will offer the kind of testimony the defendants are hoping for.

"If the defendants hope their inspirational leader will save them, they will likely be disappointed," the attorney wrote in an op-ed for MSNBC on Wednesday.

Last week, an attorney for Joe Biggs, one of the Proud Boys members facing trial, asked the judge to help his client and the other four defendants serve Trump with a subpoena. The five men, who are all members of a group notoriously known for supporting white supremacy and Trump, are currently on trial for seditious conspiracy related to their role in the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot.

Trump Followers Testify Oath
Then-President Donald Trump boards Air Force One before departing Harlingen, Texas on January 12, 2021. Inset: A member of the Proud Boys makes an "OK" sign with his hands as he gathers with others in front of the Oregon State Capitol building during a far-right rally on January 8, 2022, in Salem, Oregon. Mandel Ngan/Mathieu Lewis-Rolland/AFP

The defendants are hoping to put Trump on the stand in hopes that his testimony could persuade the jury that it was the former president who incited the riot on the Hill. Judge Timothy Kelly has not announced his decision on the request, but similar efforts to have Trump testify have not been granted in other January 6 trials.

Kirschner said that even if Trump were to be called as a witness, it would be "extremely unlikely" for him to say anything about encouraging the Proud Boys to attack the Capitol. Instead, the attorney predicted that the former president would try to dodge any arguments that he was responsible and put the blame on the Proud Boys themselves.

"As a former career prosecutor, I believe that Trump would do far more harm than good to the Proud Boys' prospects of an acquittal," Kirschner said.

He added that because Trump is facing his own criminal investigation into the attack on the Capitol, Trump "inarguably has a Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination." The former president's deposition in the New York civil case has demonstrated that he is prepared to invoke the Fifth as many times as necessary.

During his testimony in the fraud investigation of his company the Trump Organization, he pled the Fifth more than 400 times, despite previously saying in 2016, "If you're innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?"

The only way for Kelly to balance the constitutional rights between Trump hypothetically invoking the Fifth and the Sixth Amendment right to compel a witness to testify is for him to grant immunity to Trump, Kirschner said.

But since the judge has "no authority to order the executive branch to immunize a witness," he'll have to throw out the subpoena and let Trump avoid testifying. One workaround would be for the defense to use Trump's words from January 6 to make the argument that the former president called the Proud Boys into action that day.

At the same time, Kirschner said the defendants may not even expect Trump to testify. He noted that defense attorneys often make arguments that they're prepared to lose in hopes of building those claims into their appeal.

"This effort to subpoena Trump may be little more than the defendants attempting to create and preserve an issue on appeal," Kirschner said. "But before that appeal, we have the current trial."

Newsweek reached out to Kirschner for comment.