Legal experts say that if President Donald Trump loses his re-election bid, he may be the first ex-president in history to be charged with a crime.
Jail Time for President Trump if He Loses Re-Election?
New York Magazine columnist Jeff Wise says Trump’s potential legal exposure is “breathtaking,” with more than a dozen investigations already underway.
“You might think, given all the crimes Trump has bragged about committing during his time in office, that the primary path to prosecuting him would involve the U.S. Justice Department,” said Wise.
“If Joe Biden is sworn in as president in January, his attorney general will inherit a mountain of criminal evidence against Trump accumulated by Robert Mueller and a host of inspectors general and congressional oversight committees.
“After the DOJ’s incoming leadership is briefed on any sensitive matters contained in the evidence, federal prosecutors will move forward with their investigations of Trump.”
There is a possibility that Trump may try to pardon himself as he leaves the White House. However, Wise believes he would be charged with falsifying business records and tax fraud by Manhattan attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.
“To build a fraud case against Trump, Vance subpoenaed his financial records,” said Wise. “But those records alone won’t be enough: To secure a conviction, Vance will need to convince a jury not only that Trump cheated on his taxes but that he intended to do so.”
Old Confidantes Willing to Provide Strong Evidence Against Trump
Another issue Donald Trump faces is that his longtime accountant Allen Weisselberg and former attorney Michael Cohen have both signaled they’re willing to cooperate with prosecutors against Trump. Both would be able to provide strong evidence.
“Once indicted, Trump would be arraigned at New York Criminal Court, a towering Art Deco building at 100 Centre Street,” said Wise. “Since a former president with a Secret Service detail can hardly slip away unnoticed, he would likely not be required to post bail or forfeit his passport while awaiting trial. His legal team, of course, would do everything it could to draw out the proceedings.”
Because of the legal delays, Wise believes Trump wouldn’t head to trial until 2023 and that it wouldn’t last more than a few months.
Greatest Downfall in American Politics Since Richard Nixon
“Trump’s conviction would seal the greatest downfall in American politics since Richard Nixon,” said Wise. “Unlike his associates who were sentenced to prison on federal charges, Trump would not be eligible for a presidential pardon or commutation, even from himself. And while his lawyers would file every appeal they can think of, none of it would spare Trump the indignity of imprisonment.”
“Unlike the federal court system, which often allows prisoners to remain free during the appeals process, state courts tend to waste no time in carrying out punishment,” he added.
“After someone is sentenced in New York City, their next stop is Rikers Island. Once there, as Trump awaited transfer to a state prison, the man who’d treated the presidency like a piggy bank would receive yet another handout at the public expense: a toothbrush and toothpaste, bedding, a towel, and a green plastic cup.”
Unfortunately, there may be no good cell phone deals, so the future of Trump’s Twitter account may also look bleak.