Former President Donald Trump’s year just got even busier.

there were trumps on tuesday Prosecuted by Special Counsel Jack Smith on four counts: conspiracy to defraud the US government, conspiracy to violate the rights of the people, conspiracy to obstruct official proceedings, and actual obstruction of official proceedings. It comes on top of two other sets of criminal charges filed against Trump in the past five months — one from Manhattan District Attorneyand one more from Smith’s team, included separate federal fee, And this week’s indictment may not be the last of Trump’s legal troubles. within the next few weeksFulton County District Attorney Fannie Willis could ask a grand jury in Georgia to issue charges in a separate long-running investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, and Trump could be a target.

This means that by the end of the summer, Trump could be a defendant in four different criminal cases in four different courts. It probably won’t stop him from getting the Republican nomination – in fact, The first set of charges may have really helped him, But even if they don’t harm him among his base, the allegations may only harm Trump by taking up his time and attention. If he wants to avoid conviction while running for president, he may need to spend a great deal of energy dealing with these matters – leaving him with less bandwidth for campaigning.

“Active customer engagement is critical to success in testing,” said c melissa owen, a criminal defense attorney in North Carolina who is active in the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. “Trump is the best person to educate his lawyers about the circumstances of the cases, especially about his intentions. In general, the higher your customer involvement, the better the result.

Dealing with four separate criminal cases is a daunting task for anyone, even if they aren’t simultaneously trying to persuade the American public to grant them one of the most powerful jobs in the world. First, most of the back-and-forth will be out of the public eye: before the trial begins, prosecutors will share information they have gathered with the defenseand lawyers for both sides can ask the judge To make decisions about how the case will go – including in some situations whether it will be dismissed. Owen said some clients prefer to be more involved in these early stages of the process than others. But defense attorneys need some level of input from their client, he said, because new information is becoming available and their understanding of that information needs to be consistent with how the client sees it.

And then there is the trial – which can be lengthy, depending on the number of witnesses being called and the extent of the evidence being presented. What can be the status of Trump as a former President? throw a wrench in the process, Very. “The jury selection alone is going to be really complicated,” Owen said. It can take several weeks for each case to be decided. It’s possible Trump will try to sneak out of the courtroom while the hearing is underway – he regularly chooses to not to show In civil cases – but criminal defendants are generally expected To be present on each day of his trial. And even if Trump is not forced to be there, there is a huge risk of him skipping all or part of the trial. “It’s a really bad feeling not being there,” Owen said. “Suppose it is a bad sign to the jury, that the defendant thinks they have a better place to live.”

So it is possible that several months of Trump’s time could be wasted in various court proceedings during critical points of the campaign. now, he’s the first Trial is due to begin in New York in late March, where he has been accused of falsifying business records as part of a payment scheme for an adult-film actress during his 2016 campaign. It’s just weeks after Super Tuesday — which means that although it’s possible that Trump will be the de facto GOP nominee by then, it’s also likely that the Republican primaries will still be inching toward their conclusion.

The second lawsuit, which involves allegations that Trump illegally kept classified documents and obstructed efforts to retrieve them, currently scheduled for May, And if a similar pattern applies for the latest indictment — and for any future indictments out of Fulton County — it could mean Trump could face additional trials in two separate locations on the East Coast in the summer of 2024. May have to

In some ways, that timing isn’t the worst for Trump, as the competitive portion of the Republican primary is likely to be over by May. (If it isn’t, the timing will be terrible, as each state will be crucial in a down-to-the-wire primary campaign.) Testing throughout the summer won’t interfere with the busiest part of the general election campaign, which begins after Labor Day. The atmosphere heats up, although if unlucky that could coincide with the Republican National Convention, creating a very unfavorable split screen for the GOP. But if the cases are dismissed without conviction, Trump could be in an even stronger position in the domestic phase of the campaign. “From his point of view, the best-case scenario is to acquit him and then go full force in the general election,” he said. Richard BriffaultA law professor at Columbia University who studies the political process.

But it is also likely that Trump will be convicted on one or more of the counts. after All votes have been cast in the GOP primary, which will likely ensure he remains on the November ballot. In theory, the rules could be changed at the nominating convention to allow pledged delegates to vote for someone else, a longstanding ploy of Trump opponents. Attempted unsuccessfully in 2016, However, such a coup would be extremely difficult to pull off, and it likely would not go over well with a large swath of GOP voters who believe Trump should be able to serve as president even if he is convicted of a serious crime. be held (48) percent, According to YouGov/Yahoo News poll held in July). Meanwhile, there is no rule that says Trump cannot continue in office if he is convicted of a crime. He may even escape from prison, though he is unlikely to be behind bars before the 2024 elections. Brifault said, “Trump will immediately appeal any conviction and that will take time.” “I don’t think we can count on an appeals court decision until November.”

However, once the trial is over, the cases are unlikely to take up much of Trump’s time, even if he is convicted, because, according to Owen, appeals require little client input. So he will be free to spend the last few months of the campaign convincing voters that he still deserves a second term. But moments of trials may still come back to haunt him. “Criminal prosecution is not a popularity contest,” he said. “It is a complete examination of the most questionable decisions you have ever made. Needless to say, that is the opposite of what any candidate would want during a presidential election campaign.

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