Connect with us

World

Could Trump’s 2024 campaign keep his legal troubles at bay?

News Agencies

Published

on

<span>Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters</span>” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/D3LJhQFk97RqULQ4co_r6Q–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTQyMw–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/the_guardian_765/054e7c173e5a1b84f86c3193a01bc4d4″ data-src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/D3LJhQFk97RqULQ4co_r6Q–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTQyMw–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/the_guardian_765/054e7c173e5a1b84f86c3193a01bc4d4″></div>
</div>
</div>
<p><figcaption class=Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

The law is clear. The politics less so.

If Donald Trump’s third run for the White House is propelled by large doses of narcissism and revenge, the former US president must also be hoping that a high-profile political campaign may help keep his myriad legal problems at bay before they bury him.

Related: January 6 subcommittee to examine criminal referrals it might make to DoJ

Advertisement

Prosecutors from New York to Georgia and Washington DC have spent months digging into an array of alleged crimes before, during and after Trump was president. Some of those investigations are coming to fruition with indictments expected to follow within months, possibly weeks, on charges that potentially could see Trump become the first former US president to go to prison.

His declaration that he is once again a candidate changes nothing under the law. Legal minds broadly agree that while a sitting president is protected from prosecution in office, that immunity disappears when they leave the White House.

But then there is the politics of a prosecution against a presidential candidate who has already dismissed the investigations of his attempts to overturn the 2020 election, the hoarding of top secret documents, and allegedly fraudulent business practices, as “politically motivated” and a Democratic “witch-hunt”.

Advertisement

Donald Ayer, a former US deputy attorney general under President George HW Bush, said the political element will weigh on prosecutors only to the extent that it affects their ability to persuade a jury to convict him.

“Donald Trump declaring his candidacy certainly doesn’t make his prosecution legally impossible or inappropriate, but its impact on the prosecution’s success must be considered. One ultimate judgment the justice department must make – it is specifically set out in the justice manual – is whether it is probable that they can convict by proving their case beyond a reasonable doubt,” he said.

“Ultimately, I don’t think that the confusion and uncertainty that Trump is trying to generate with this step will end up being a reason that the government declines to go forward. It is just one more effort to mislead people, and it does not change the extent of his culpability or the urgency of holding the worst perpetrators of these crimes accountable.”

Advertisement

Still, justice department officials have discussed whether to appoint a special counsel to take over the Trump investigations in order to head off accusations that any criminal charges are politically driven because the attorney general, Merrick Garland, was appointed by a Democratic president, Joe Biden. But even then the special prosecutor would ultimately answer to Garland.

It is just one more effort to mislead people

Donald Ayer, ex-US deputy attorney general

Advertisement

There is plenty of precedent for prosecutors to investigate and indict election candidates. Trump’s opponent in 2016, Hillary Clinton, was under investigation by the FBI through the primaries and again in the days before the general election over her use of a private email server.

Candidates can even run with a prosecution hanging over them. Last week, a Trump-backed Republican won a seat in the Texas legislature while under indictment for impersonating a public servant.

Four years ago, several candidates won seats in Congress while facing criminal charges. They included two Republicans, Chris Collins of New York and Duncan Hunter of California. Collins later pleaded guilty to insider trading and resigned his seat. Hunter admitted using campaign funds on extramarital affairs and also gave up his seat although he was saved from prison by a pardon from Trump.

Advertisement

Texas attorney general and Trump loyalist Ken Paxton has been re-elected twice while under criminal indictment for securities fraud but the trial has been repeatedly delayed.

The justice department has a practice of not bringing criminal charges against a candidate within 60 days of an election, but it’s not written into law. The way the criminal investigations against Trump are unfolding, he faces the prospect of multiple trials long before the 2024 presidential election reaches its climax.

Federal investigators are building a case against the former president for keeping classified documents, including some marked top secret, at his Mar-a-Largo mansion in Florida after leaving the White House. The potential charges include breaches of the espionage act and obstruction of justice.

Advertisement

The justice department is also investigating Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results and his part in instigating the 6 January 2021 storming of the Capitol in Washington.

Ayer said he expects both investigations to result in charges.

“Of the two federal investigations, I think the one that focuses on the outright stealing of the election is the most important one. What’s at stake there is hard to overstate. But the documents case is also very serious because of the national security considerations. Because it is narrower and less complicated to prove, it could be ready for prosecution sooner,” he said.

Advertisement

Trump is also facing the threat of serious charges by a local prosecutor in Atlanta, Georgia. The Fulton county district attorney, Fani Willis, has assembled a “special purpose grand jury” that has spent months focused on Trump’s multi-faceted attempt to turn defeat into victory by pressuring officials to overturn his loss in the key swing state.

Willis has been building a substantial body of testimony from some of Trump’s closest allies and Republican officials who witnessed the defeated president’s actions. They include the Georgia secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, who was questioned about a call he received from Trump demanding that he “find” enough votes to erase Biden’s victory.

Ronald Carlson, a leading Georgia trial lawyer and professor at the University of Georgia’s law school, said the Fulton county investigation “continues to be the most dangerous threat” to the former president.

Advertisement

It seems to me highly likely this grand jury will report that criminality occurred

Ronald Carlson, Georgia trial lawyer and professor

“President Trump continues to denigrate and dismiss this as political theatre. It would be a serious mistake to underestimate what’s going on. It seems to me highly likely this grand jury will report that criminality occurred and we should not be surprised to see an indictment. Remember, Georgia is the only place where the president himself is on tape saying to the [Georgia] secretary of state, ‘Brad, please find me 11,780 votes.’”

Carlson does not think the state attorney general’s office will be deterred by political pressure from charging the president, possibly early next year.

Advertisement

“They’ve given no sign up to this point of being afraid, and I don’t think they will be,” he said.

Carlson believes Willis, a Democrat, is building a case with overwhelming evidence against Trump so that it cannot be dismissed as political. She also needs a watertight case to persuade a jury in a largely Republican state.

Ayers said Garland is equally determined to press ahead with charges if the evidence is there.

Advertisement

“I believe that the attorney general is highly motivated to secure accountability at the highest levels it can be proven, and to do so as soon as reasonably possible, consistent with assembling a strong case showing guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. He knows that a failure to achieve a high degree of accountability, meaning criminal prosecution, will send a bad message that the United States of America can’t be counted on to enforce its laws prohibiting these most serious offences of all against the country,” he said.

Charges are one thing. Getting to a trial, and securing a conviction is another.

Even if Trump is charged, could his lawyers stall any trial until he once again has immunity as president, as he hopes? Debra Perlin, a former Department of Homeland Security attorney who is now policy director for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, says not.

Advertisement

“Let’s be honest, Trump has played a delay game from the very beginning on every challenge that’s come his way. But I don’t think that they are able to delay those trials. Although I’m sure that there would be a lot of pre-trial filing that his team would make, we are far outside of them being able to delay up until the election,” she said.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Advertisement

Breaking News

Editor Pick’s

Latest Entertainment

Entertainment5 hours ago

Jennifer Lopez says she nearly fell off a cliff filming a Shotgun Wedding stunt with Josh Duhamel

Jennifer Lopez and Josh Duhamel nearly took ’til death do us part literally after a stunt in their new movie,...

Entertainment6 hours ago

Megan Fox Shows Off New Bob Hairstyle and Her Figure in Tiny Orange Bikini — See the Photos!

https://www.instagram.com/meganfox/. Megan Fox/Instagram Megan Fox/Instagram Megan Fox is rocking a new hairdo! The actress, 36, unveiled a much shorter hairstyle...

Entertainment7 hours ago

Shakira Shares Cryptic Message After Ex Gerard Piqué and Girlfriend Become Instagram Official

These hips don’t cry. A day after Shakira‘s ex Gerard Piqué made his relationship with girlfriend Clara Chia Marti Instagram...

Entertainment9 hours ago

Hilary Duff explains her friendship with ex Joel Madden and his wife Nicole Richie: ‘We actually hang out all the time’

Hilary Duff explained that photo of herself with Joel Madden and Nicole Richie. (Photo: Arturo Holmes/WireImage) Hilary Duff and Nicole...

Entertainment18 hours ago

Jennifer Coolidge Says ‘Most Fun I’ve Ever Had at a Wedding’ Was for Billie Eilish and Finneas’ Parents

Dotdash Meredith and Yahoo Inc. may earn commission or revenue on some items through the links below. Jennifer Coolidge arrives...

Entertainment20 hours ago

Julie Bowen Shoots Her Shot with Harry Styles at His Concert: ‘I Know What I’m Doing’

https://www.instagram.com/reel/Cn59zupgVo0/ itsjuliebowen’s profile picture itsjuliebowen Verified I’m here! HARRY! @harrystyles @harryflorals 21h; NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MAY 19: Singer-songwriter...

Entertainment21 hours ago

Chrissy Teigen Shares Photos of Luna and Miles — Looking All Grown Up! — After Birth of New Baby Esti

https://www.instagram.com/p/Cn7jPvZv9F2/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link chrissyteigen Verified Too �� for school but still going to school because it’s important 4h chrissy teigen/Instagram Chrissy Teigen‘s...

Entertainment22 hours ago

Hilary Duff Says She Hangs Out with Ex Joel Madden and Their Spouses ‘All the Time’: ‘It’s Lovely’

Hilary Duff, Joel Madden Marc Andrew Deley/FilmMagic Hilary Duff is keeping it friendly with at least one ex. The How...

Advertisement

Latest Sports

Sports50 mins ago

Sixers vs. Nuggets: Joel Embiid drops 47 points in Sixers’ seventh straight win

Joel Embiid turned in an MVP-caliber performance Saturday and the Sixers came back for a 126-119 victory over Nikola Jokic...

Sports1 hour ago

Why Steve Kerr kept James Wiseman on Warriors bench in win vs. Raptors

Warriors coach Steve Kerr explained why James Wiseman didn't play in the win over the Toronto Raptors.

Sports2 hours ago

Basketball’s in their blood: The next generation

The offspring of NBA stars are already knocking at the door. Let's check the credentials of these high school hoopers...

Sports2 hours ago

49ers promote Tevin Coleman, Janoris Jenkins

The 49ers have added a pair of veterans to the roster for the NFC Championship Game. The team announced that...

Sports3 hours ago

Conference Championship Preview: Burrow flying under the radar & Purdy’s biggest test yet

Matt Harmon is joined by his Fantasy Football Live co-hosts Andy Behrens and Tank Williams to preview both the AFC...

Sports3 hours ago

Letters to Sports: Arte Moreno’s Angels sale reversal fires up fans

Los Angeles Times Sports readers share their thoughts on Arte Moreno's decision to keep the Angels and Mick Cronin's coaching...

Sports3 hours ago

Clyde Christensen: I worried about Tom Brady during stressful, heartbreaking time

Clyde Christensen, who retired last week after decades in coaching and five years as the Buccaneers’ quarterbacks coach, says Tom...

Sports4 hours ago

Joe Burrow’s most memorable quotes from this season (so far 😉)

Everyone loves a good quote, and Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow is chock-full of them. Here are his most memorable...

Technology Hot News

Technology1 week ago

Led by "Amazon" and "Microsoft" .. the technology giants are planning to lay off 64,000 employees

After 10 years of driving the stock market bull run, big tech companies are racing to downsize staff to adapt...

Technology1 week ago

Apple introduces MacBooks with new M2 processors

Yesterday, Tuesday, Apple unveiled MacBooks powered by the new, faster “M2 Pro” and “M2 Max” processor chips, in a surprise...

Technology2 weeks ago

All you need to know about the upcoming Galaxy S23 phones from Samsung

Samsung has officially announced that the (Galaxy Unpacked 2023) event will be held this year on Wednesday, February 1, which...

Technology2 weeks ago

FTX Exchange Announces Hacking and Stolen $415 Million in Cryptocurrency

Bankrupt American cryptocurrency firm FTX announced today, Wednesday, that $415 million in cryptocurrency has been hacked and stolen from the...

Technology2 weeks ago

Because of a "fraudulent tweet"… Elon Musk's trial begins

Elon Musk's trial began Tuesday in San Francisco with the selection of jury members who will have to decide whether...

Technology2 weeks ago

An electric spoon replaces salt and spices, but with conditions

Experts have developed an electric spoon that is able to replace spices and flavors and affect the taste buds in...

Technology2 weeks ago

The biggest dangers of using tracking devices.. so you can escape?

If you spot an unknown Bluetooth tagging device, there are ways to disable the device so it can't track your...

Technology2 weeks ago

New Twitter.. For You tab to web version

The Twitter platform announced that it will bring the new tab (For You), which launched last Tuesday for iPhones and...

Advertisement