WASHINGTON — The Latest on former President Donald Trump’s second Senate impeachment trial (all times local):

12:05 p.m.

Defense lawyers have begun their opening arguments in the impeachment trial of Donald Trump as the case speeds to an expected conclusion this weekend.

The Trump legal team is expected to argue that the former president did not incite the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol and that his speech was protected by the First Amendment. The lawyers have also raised questions about the trial’s constitutionality because Trump is no longer in office.

Trump’s lawyers are not expected to use anywhere close to their allotted time and will wrap up their arguments later Friday. After that, senators who are serving as jurors will have an opportunity to ask questions of lawyers for both sides, followed by closing arguments.

The case is likely to conclude as soon as Saturday.

___

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FORMER PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP’S SECOND SENATE IMPEACHMENT TRIAL:

The strategy from Donald Trump’s lawyers is to concede that violence at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was every bit as traumatic, unacceptable and illegal as Democrats say. But his team disputes that Trump had anything to do with it. The goal is to blunt the impact of the House Democrats’ visceral case and quickly pivot to what the defense lawyers see as the more winnable issue of the trial: whether Trump incited the deadly riot.

Read more:

— Lawyer defending Trump accustomed to political disaster