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Legal Experts Aghast At Trump's Careless Call for Death Penalty for NYC Suspect

"Advocating the death penalty before trial isn't justice, it's a lynching."

The president advocated for the death penalty in the case of Sayfullo Saipov, the suspect in Tuesday's New York City attack, while the case was still being investigated. (Photo: CBSNews/Twitter)

Critics denounced President Donald Trump's Thursday morning tweets in which he called for the death penalty for the suspect in this week's New York City attack.

Backtracking on his earlier calls for the alleged attacker to be sent to Guantanamo Bay, the president said that a federal trial would be a more efficient way to punish him.

Immigration attorney and civil rights advocate David Leopold noted that his concern with the tweets lay not in the question of Sayfullo Saipov's guilt in the case of the murders of eight people, but with Trump's reckless interference with the justice system.

With the president on record demanding capital punishment in a trial that hasn't yet begun for a case that's still being investigated, legal experts worried that defense attorneys could argue that a fair trial is now impossible, potentially resulting in a mistrial.


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Trump's tweets contained echoes of his response to the case of the Central Park Five, a group of African American teenagers who were falsely accused of raping a woman in 1989. As a private citizen he spent $85,000 on ad space calling for the suspects' executions.

On social media, a number of critics expressed grave concerns with the president's careless tweets.

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