Ministry of Justice Second federal indictment announced Former President Donald J. Trump on August 1, 2023. These charges are groundbreaking and not just because the former president faces multiple criminal charges.
Because these are the first federal charges alleging that a former president actually attempted a specific type of coup d’etat, called a coup d’état. automatic coupwhere he tried to stay in power by illegal means.
All charges are based on the allegation that Trump and his co-conspirators knew the former president lost the 2020 election, and that his allegations of fraud and voting irregularities made before and on January 6, 2021 are unfounded.
Three counts in the new indictment allege conspiracy: conspiracy to defraud the government; obstructing official procedures – in this case, the counting of electoral votes on January 6, 2021; And against the right of voters to cast their votes and count them fairly and impartially.
The remaining count allegedly obstructed official procedures – namely, the counting of electoral votes. The document indicates that Trump had assistance from six co-conspirators, including four attorneys, a Justice Department official and a political consultant.
None of them have been charged in the indictment, and they are identified by number, not name. This could mean that one or more of these people are cooperating with the Department of Justice, but not necessarily.
The indictment charges that all of Trump’s many allegations of election irregularities “were false, and the defendant knew they were false.”
I Researcher in criminal law and procedures. While Trump faces many other charges, this indictment contains the most serious charges he has faced so far.
In another case, Trump is being charged in New York Falsification of business records, which is somewhat of an artistic offense. He was charged by the Florida Department of Justice with Illegal retention of national security documentsBut there is no claim that they were exposed to foreign agents or that they amounted to more than mere souvenirs.
By contrast, this indictment alleges that Trump willfully held on to office he knew he was not entitled to.
In Trump’s latest indictment, the Justice Department alleges that in November and December 2020, Trump tried to persuade state lawmakers obstructing the certification process Election results in their states. Trump allegedly did this, for example, by asking legislative leaders to bring the legislature back into session and approve a resolution won by Trump, not Joe Biden.
But all state legislatures ratified it Election results by December 2020. Trump and his allies then Compilation of lists of alternate voters In Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – all essential It is reported that Biden won. These self-appointed voters prepared alternative election documents for submission to Congress.
The indictment alleges that the co-conspirators told some of the fraudulent voters that the testimonials in their names and votes would only be used if Trump managed to overturn the election results in their state — an event that did not happen in any of the seven states. Allegedly, the conspirators later tried to use the testimonies anyway.
Third, Trump and his allies have allegedly tried to do so Justice Department officials communicate with states whose electoral votes Trump wanted. They wanted these officials to falsely say that active investigations into election fraud were pending.
Trump and his allies allegedly asked Justice Department officials to sign a letter they had drafted asking states to bring their legislatures back into session to reconsider the election results.
Fourth, the indictment alleges that Trump He tried to impress then-Vice President Mike Pence That he has the right to reject electoral votes for Biden, or return those votes to the state legislatures.
Relationships until January 6th
Finally, the indictment accuses Trump of being so responsible for some of the violence on January 6, 2021, and taking advantage of the riot at the Capitol by urging members of Congress to delay the electoral vote-counting procedures for that day.
According to the indictment, Trump called his followers to attend a protest rally on the morning of Jan. 6, and “directed them to the Capitol to obstruct certification procedures and pressure the vice president to take the fraudulent actions he had previously refused.” “
Subsequently, the indictment continues, “Defendant and co-conspirators exploited the filibuster by doubling down on efforts to force false allegations of election fraud and persuading members of Congress to further delay certification based on those allegations.”
Conspiracy charges are useful to the prosecution because under the rules of evidence, any statements or actions of a co-conspirator in furtherance of the conspiracy can be used against Trump.
So, although Trump is the only person named and charged in this case, a wide range of evidence from the actions of others will be available against him.
Possible time to serve
In theory, Trump could spend decades in prison if convicted on these charges.
indictment First countconspiracy to defraud the United States, the maximum penalty is five years. Counts 2 and 3Obstructing an official proceeding and conspiring to obstruct an official proceeding, is punishable by a maximum of 20 years imprisonment.
Count 4Conspiracy against rights, the maximum penalty is usually 10 years. However, the law provides that “if death results from acts committed in violation of this section,” the penalty may be imprisonment “for any term of years or for life,” or “the person may be sentenced” to death.
Seven people died With regard to the January 6 riots, the question is likely to be raised whether enhanced punishment is available if there is a conviction. But the Biden Department of Justice has been stingy on the death penalty. Based on this and other considerations, it seems unlikely that the death penalty will be a realistic option for sentencing in this case.
Many legal questions will have to be resolved in court between the time Trump appears in court Washington, D.C., Federal Courttentatively scheduled for August 3, 2023, when the jury reaches a verdict.
Obviously, the current president can be impeached. There are no cases where a person is charged with crimes based on their actions as president. This issue was brought up in the 1970s, but it became moot when… President Gerald Ford pardoned former President Richard Nixon.
This case puts Trump in a much deeper kind of new legal trouble, and the United States in a mysterious and unexplored political and legal landscape.
Gabriel J. Chen does not work for, consult with, own stock in, or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and he has disclosed no relevant affiliations following his academic appointment.