Donald Trump cannot forgive himself if he is convicted in Georgia and also wins the presidency in 2024 – because the offenses he is charged with are state crimes, not federal ones.
Presidents are unable to pardon state crimes – meaning Trump would be liable for any convictions in both Georgia and New York, where he faces charges related to a silent payment to the star Stormy Daniels porn.
An additional hurdle for the former president is that while Georgia has a Republican governor, Brian Kemp, a pardon from him is not an option. Kemp has been the target of Trump’s wrath in recent years.
Under Georgia’s state constitution, there is a Pardons and Parole Board, consisting of five members appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state senate.
Donald Trump, if convicted in Georgia and elected president, cannot forgive himself for a state crime
And they can’t just vote to forgive Trump. For a person in Georgia to be eligible for a pardon, they must: complete their sentence; have no pending charges; and wait five years.
The odds are better in the two Justice Department cases against him — the one for classified documents and the one for election interference — which could be wiped off the books if Trump wins the presidency since they are federal crimes — meaning that he would, in theory, have the power to forgive himself.
But legal experts are torn over the issue, which would likely end up in the Supreme Court.
“He may try to pardon himself at the federal level, but the state convictions still stand. There would likely be litigation over whether a president could use his power of pardon under the Constitution to pardon himself,’ former federal prosecutor Joan Meyer told DailyMail.com earlier this month. .
If Trump wins the 2024 election and appeals a conviction or still faces a federal trial, all federal business would likely stop.
The president would appoint his own attorney general — who would most likely be someone who would end the federal prosecution against him.
Moreover, it is Justice Department policy not to indict or try a sitting president.
In Georgia, a pardons board handles pardon applications – it’s not the purview of state governor Brian Kemp (above)
A law enforcement officer walks past the Lewis R. Slaton Courthouse in Atlanta
In the meantime, if Trump is found guilty in any of the cases against him before the November 2024 election, nothing will stop him from continuing his presidential campaign.
“There was nothing in the Constitution that said a convicted felon could not stand. Even if that criminal is in jail,’ Alan Lichtman of American University told DailyMail.com earlier this month.
The Constitution has basic requirements: a person must be at least 35 years old, born in the United States, and have lived in the United States for at least 14 years.
Even if convicted, Trump may not be in jail in the 2024 election. He would be expected to appeal and avoid jail time during this process.
Other candidates ran for office from prison. Eugene V. Debs in 1920 ran as a Socialist presidential candidate while imprisoned in Atlanta Federal Penitentiary for speaking out against the draft during World War I.
His supporters spoke for him, running his campaign and speaking to voters.
Debs and his running mate Emil Seidel garnered 913,693 votes, but not a single electoral vote. Republican Warren Harding has taken over the White House.
Debs’ supporters, including movie star Mae West, lobbied for a pardon. It never happened, but Harding got him released from prison.
Trump, if convicted, could end up in a minimum-security federal prison where he may have internet access, which means he may be able to write articles on Truth Social and communicate by E-mail.
“The Bureau of Prisons must authorize any requests for special treatment. Depending on where he’s housed, probably if he’s incarcerated, it would be a lowest security camp or prison and he’d have limited access to a phone. Inmates do not have unlimited internet access, but may have access to email. Whether Trump gets better access or special treatment by BOP if he goes to jail remains to be seen,’ Meyer said.
There is even a small possibility that Trump, if found guilty, could be sentenced to house arrest, where he would be followed with an ankle bracelet.
Or he could be placed in separate accommodation given that he would have a Secret Service and Special Needs detail that might qualify him to be incarcerated with the general prison population.
“The exact nature of the accommodation is speculative at this point, but he would likely be housed in an environment where he would have little or no contact with other inmates,” said Tess Lopez, a federal sentencing expert.
“Currently, special accommodation exists for inmates who need protection, such as former law enforcement officers, witness protection inmates, etc. One would assume that the Bureau of Prisons could use measures similar to protect the former president,” she noted.
Otherwise, his campaign staff could handle fundraising and other campaign activities if he is incarcerated.