For the third time in the history of the United States, a former president has been charged by justice. It is the case that, on all three occasions, the defendant has the same first and last name: the unmistakable Donald Trump. The facts of which he is accused are not minor: four crimes related to the attempt to block the peaceful transfer of power, an essential principle of any democracy, after the 2020 presidential elections. the elections, in November, until January 6, 2021, Three Kings Day, when thousands of his enraged supporters stormed the Capitol, the seat of the country’s legislative power, to stop the certification of Joe Biden as president.
Specifically, a grand jury in Washington has voted in favor of indicting Trump for four criminal offenses, which together could lead to 50 years in prison: conspiracy to defraud the United States government, conspiracy to violate rights, obstruction of official proceedings, and conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding. The first two, for conspiracy, can carry up to five years in prison each, while those for obstruction can go up to 20.
“Each of these conspiracies – which are based on the widespread mistrust Defendant created through pervasive and destabilizing lies about voter fraud – were aimed at stopping a critical function of the United States federal government: the national collection process, recount and certification of the results of the presidential elections,” the indictment states.
This was announced this Tuesday by special prosecutor Jack Smith, after Trump himself suggested it two weeks ago through his social network, Truth Social. Smith was appointed in November by Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate this case and the hundreds of classified documents that the FBI found at the former president’s private residence, Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach (Florida). For that case, he was already accused in June of 37 crimes, which were expanded to 40 last week, related to the retention of papers in his private residence when he had already left the White House, for making false statements and for conspiring to obstruct the justice, among other crimes.
Trump plays the victim card
Minutes before the announcement, Trump has anticipated Smith, again, through Truth Social: “They tell me that the depraved Jack Smith, with the aim of interfering in the 2024 presidential election, will fabricate a new false trial against your Favorite president, me, at 5:00 PM (11:00 PM in Spain). Why didn’t he do it two and a half years ago? Why has he waited so long? Because they wanted to fix it in the middle of my campaign.”
With these words, the ex-president insists on the narrative that she has been reiterating since she received her first accusation in April for the case of document forgery to hide the plot of bribes to buy silence, in the middle of the electoral campaign, about the extramarital relationship she had had ten years earlier with actress Stormy Daniels.
In this way, Trump accuses the prosecutor of wanting to interfere in the presidential elections that will take place in November of next year, precisely when prosecutor Smith accuses him of having tried to block the peaceful transfer of power after the 2020 elections.
Trump’s victimizing role has helped him make a profit from his campaign for the Republican primaries, which he forcefully dominates against his main rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Trump has 53.4% of Republican support, while DeSantis has only 15.6%, according to the calculation of the FiveThirtyEight model. And he’s also helped raise money for his campaign, with donations booming. Even so, as a counterpart, the New York Times uncovered this week that a large part of this economic injection has gone to legal expenses.
Three (and perhaps four) accusations in the middle of the electoral campaign
At this time, in addition to the three charges against Trump, a fourth could fall for trying to interfere in the presidential elections in Georgia. Specifically, in Atlanta, the state capital, where prosecutor Fani Willis is investigating his attempt to change the results of the 2020 elections, and expects the grand jury to vote on his indictment in the coming weeks.
In addition, Trump was sued for a case of real estate fraud in the state of New York in a civil trial where he is asked for 250 million dollars (about 226 million euros), which is set for October 2. The state attorney general, Letitia James, accuses him, along with his three eldest children –Donald Jr, Ivanka and Eric– and his real estate company, the Trump Organization, of having organized “for years a financial fraud focused on his own enrichment”. Specifically, she claims to have indications that the family falsified the value of various properties to deceive banks and lenders.
On the other hand, the former president was already sentenced to pay 5 million dollars (4.5 million euros) to columnist E. Jean Carroll, two in damages for the “sexual abuse” that occurred in 1996 and three for “defamation” later. This was ruled by a jury from the federal court in Manhattan, which, after listening to the arguments of the Prosecutor’s Office and the defense, finally ruled out the crime of rape.
Of the three accusations that he already has on him, two have a trial date, which will coincide with a boiling point in next year’s electoral campaign: first will come the trial in New York for the case of documentary falsification to bribe Stormy Daniels, the March 25, 2024 and, two months later, the case of classified documents, on May 20. In the coming weeks there will be a date for the third historical trial of the ex-president, in this case, for his involvement in an attempted coup.