Legal experts are speculating how former President Donald Trump could push back his indictment in Florida and potentially push the trial beyond the 2024 presidential election.
The shocking 37 charges were unveiled last week – the embattled Republican frontrunner expects to plead not guilty to mishandling classified documents – in a Miami court on Tuesday.
However, the president faces several potential avenues to beat the case, including the simple fact that it is an unprecedented challenge for a former commander-in-chief.
And Trump will only have to convince a juror to cancel the trial, which could completely sabotage the case.
The sweeping powers granted to the presidency mean special counsel Jack Smith must prove Trump was acting criminally by showing documents he would previously have been free to share as president.
“One of the big challenges Jack Smith faces is persuading each of those 12 jurors that it might be a criminal offense for Trump to share documents that a few years ago when he was president he would have been free to share,” Rob Kelner, a defense attorney who works in national security cases, told the the wall street journal.
Legal experts are speculating how former President Donald Trump could push back his indictment in Florida and potentially push the trial beyond the 2024 presidential election
William Devaney, a former federal prosecutor and associate of Baker McKenzie, adds that all Trump needs for a hung jury is “a juror who thinks Donald Trump has been treated unfairly.”
Trump’s reluctance to cooperate with the investigation may actually benefit him by appearing to support his insistence on bias against him on the part of the Justice Department.
And the lawyers of the ex-president could also try themselves to diminish the charges, with the newspaper citing a letter written in April by Trump’s attorneys to congressional Republicans saying that it was all “the result of haphazard keeping and packing of records.”
The attorneys also said they had “absolutely no indication that President Trump knowingly possessed any of the marked documents or deliberately violated any laws.”
Kelner also thinks the Trump team could simply argue that while it certainly wasn’t okay to share the classified documents, he never gave them to foreign nationals or “hostile actors.”
A separate Policy The editorial said Trump’s case is highly unlikely to be completed before November 2024, with him now active in the race.
“Any national security case comes with additional hurdles that make a speedy trial difficult,” wrote Renato Mariotti.
People walk past the US Federal Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. Courthouse, where former President Donald Trump is due to appear on June 11
Boxes of potentially classified documents were discovered in a Mar-a-Lago bathroom by the DOJ
“Trump’s attorneys will need to obtain clearance to review classified material, a special order will need to be placed to ensure the material is properly protected, and there will likely be fights over classified material provided by the government on discovery. .”
Mariotti adds that “the ball is in Trump’s court” and that he could essentially delay the trial for as long as he needs to.
“The end result is that the proceedings of this unprecedented case will soar above the electoral landscape throughout the next year and potentially well into the administration of whoever the next president is.”
The 76-year-old said on Thursday he was told he was charged with espionage – the first time in US history that a former president has faced federal charges.
Trump faces four separate charges, each of which could carry a potential prison sentence of 20 years: conspiracy to obstruct justice; withhold a document or record; concealment by corruption of a document or file; and the concealment of a document in a federal investigation.
One count is punishable by 10 years in prison: willful withholding of national defense information.
And the last two counts have a maximum of five years each: scheme to conceal, and false statements and representations. Trump’s indictment remains sealed, but his decision to make it public means the feds could unseal it as early as Friday, ahead of next Tuesday’s court appearance in Miami.
The news sparked outrage from the Republican Party, with even 2024 rival Ron DeSantis declaring that “the militarization of federal law enforcement poses a deadly threat to a free society.” DeSantis has not said whether he would forgive his rival if Trump is convicted, despite calls for the governor of Florida to pledge to do so.
Trump himself – who was in Bedminster, New Jersey when news of the indictment broke – condemned the indictment in a clip that The New York Times said was pre-recorded, saying that it was a political persecution, and said: “I am innocent”.
Trump makes his first public appearances this weekend at a rally in Georgia
Donald Trump supporters at Columbus Airport, Columbus, Georgia, on Saturday
Extraordinary new photos (above) revealed in the damning dossier show how Trump valet Walt Nauta entered a storage room and found intelligence files on allies including the UK and Australia, knocked down on the floor
He will appear in court in Miami on Tuesday at 3 p.m., where the charges will be brought against him. Trump denies all the allegations he faces.
Jack Smith, the special counsel overseeing the investigation, did not comment.
He was indicted in Manhattan in April for silently paying money to porn star Stormy Daniels – those state charges were also historic.
But the federal classified information charges are significantly more serious, and carry heavy prison sentences.
THE CHARGES AGAINST TRUMP AND THE MAXIMUM PRISON TERMS
Trump’s attorneys have confirmed he faces seven federal charges. They have not received the formal indictment, but have received summonses suggesting he will face the charges below and maximum sentences.
- Willful withholding of national defense information in violation of the Espionage Act (maximum penalty of 20 years in prison if convicted)
- Conspiracy to obstruct justice (20 years)
- Retention of a document or file (20 years)
- Hiding Corrupted Document or Folder (20 years)
- Concealment of a document in a federal investigation (20 years)
- Concealment plan (five years)
- False statements and representations (five years)
Prosecutors have been investigating the transfer of presidential records to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida since last year.
The investigation made headlines in August when the FBI raided Trump’s Florida home, recovering 11,000 documents, including around 100 marked as classified.
For his part, Trump has repeatedly insisted he did nothing wrong and was the victim of a federal witch hunt.
At times, the controversy has even bolstered his standing in the polls and allowed him to raise money from supporters who see a “deep state” plot to knock him out of the 2024 race.
“The corrupt Biden administration informed my lawyers that I have been charged, apparently for the box hoax, even though Joe Biden has 1850 boxes at the University of Delaware, additional boxes in Chinatown, DC, with even more of boxes at the University of Pennsylvania, and documents strewn across the floor of his garage where he parks his Corvette, and which is ‘secured’ only by a paper-thin garage door that is open most of the time’ ‘, Trump wrote on Truth Social Thursday night.
“I was summoned to the Federal Courthouse in Miami on Tuesday at 3 p.m. I would never have thought possible that such a thing could happen to a former president of the United States, who received far more votes than any sitting president in the history of our country, and who currently leads , by far, every candidate, both Democratic and Republican, in the polls for the 2024 presidential election. I AM AN INNOCENT MAN!’
Later Thursday night, he released a video.
“Very sadly, we are a nation in decline and yet they are going after a very popular president,” Trump said.
“I am an innocent man, I have done nothing wrong,” he continued, promising to “fight this.”
In an interview with Fox News Digital, Trump also said he would “of course” plead not guilty.
Security is already tightened around the Miami courthouse ahead of his appearance before a judge, scheduled for 3 p.m. Tuesday.
The investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents is overseen by special counsel, Jack Smith, who was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland in November.