SSince entering the American political scene in 2015, former President Donald Trump has managed to face serious consequences from most investigations through the loyalty of his close associates and by using the power of his office, which he held from 2017 to 2021 to avoid his behavior.
Despite four criminal cases against him, Trump’s continued campaign for the presidency in next year’s general election has allowed his confidants to credibly raise the possibility that a victory over President Joe Biden next year will give him at least a sixth-place finish The two cases are currently being pursued against him by Special Counsel Jack Smith. And in the case pending against him in a New York court, thanks to the loyalty of his company’s executives, he managed to avoid more serious charges than those he faced for allegedly falsifying business records, including a longtime employee who would rather serve prison time than to give evidence against him.
However, many legal experts believe that the 40 charges that Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis has filed against Mr Trump and 18 co-defendants will push his co-defendants, some of whom have been among his closest allies, beyond their breaking points and violence urging them to turn against the ex-president rather than face the wrath of a Georgia jury.
The list of targets Ms Willis is now taking action against includes some of the ex-president’s most prominent confidants, who have been charged twice and indicted four times, including his former personal attorney, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani because of his work, Mr Trump there to help redeem his 2020 election loss to Joe Biden is charged with twelve separate felonies.
Mr. Giuliani, a former prosecutor who made a name for himself by bringing charges against the Italian-American Mafia in the 1980s for racketeering and criminal organization (Rico) against the Italian-American mob, will now appear alongside John under a state version of the organized crime law Eastman, the former law professor with whom he appeared at the Jan. 6, 2021 rally that preceded the attack on the US Capitol by a group of Trump supporters that day.
They will also be joined in the dock by three former Trump administration officials: Mark Meadows, Mr Trump’s last White House chief of staff, Jeffrey Clark, former Justice Department official, and Michael Roman, a Trump White House staffer who became a campaign official. Each of them is said to have been described as anonymous co-conspirators in a federal indictment against Mr Trump.
In addition to the ex-president, former Trump campaign lawyers Jenna Ellis, Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell are also being charged.
In addition, Ms Willis successfully brought indictments against a number of other defendants linked to Mr Trump’s alleged illegal efforts, including an alleged plot to present then-Vice President Mike Pence with fake ballot papers for counting.
Those other co-defendants include representatives of the Georgia GOP, including former Georgia Republican Party Chairman David Shafer, former Coffee County, Georgia Elections Commissioner Misty Hampton, and other GOP activists who signed the certificates.
According to legal experts, the sheer number of co-defendants and the severity of the allegations against them will lead at least some of them to move against Trump in hopes of a better deal. These experts say that the peculiarities of Georgia’s criminal law, which failed to allow a friendly republican governor to pardon these crimes, will also force many of those named in the indictment to cooperate with prosecutors.
Clockwise from top left: John Eastman, Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell and Jeffrey Clark
Glenn Kirschner, a former Assistant US Attorney in Washington, DC who prosecuted several racketeering lawsuits in the 1990s, told The Independent that based on the number of unindicted co-conspirators described in the indictment, Ms Willis appears to already have significant help from numerous people received .
While Mr Kirschner pointed out that the “best” deals – including full immunity from prosecution – were most likely negotiated before Ms Willis brought her case before a grand jury, he also said that the number of defendants who were ultimately indicted, further business would be required if Ms. Willis wished to take the case to court.
“There’s no way 19 will go to trial,” he said.
The former federal prosecutor said his job as assistant US attorney was to “identify potentially valuable defendants that I wanted to develop into cooperating witnesses.”
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“Sometimes I succeeded, often not. However, what I found was that if you talked to them before they were charged, the whole prospect of criminal charges was a bit theoretical and didn’t quite get there,” he said.
“And then when they see their name on the wrong side of the ‘V,’ it tends to catch their attention. And often they would then want to start negotiations again. And we would find a whole host of cooperating witnesses after they were charged.”
Mr. Kirschner added that in his experience, the mechanisms for holding trials would also limit the number of defendants brought to trial and would incentivize Ms. Willis to do business where possible.
John Dean, the former White House Counsel under Richard Nixon who testified against the disgraced President during the Watergate scandal, confirmed his suspicion that there had already been significant collusion by those involved in the case.
Mr Dean, who pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and presented state evidence to federal prosecutors, told CNN on Monday he thought it was “very likely” that Mr Trump’s co-defendants would “turn around” after charges were brought.
“They just wanted to see the indictment, and they’ve seen it now, and it’s not pretty,” he said, adding that he believes Mr. Meadows “will probably find a solution to get out of the Georgia case, too.” .
Mark Meadows was Trump’s last White House chief of staff
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Norm Eisen, a senior Brookings Institution official who worked for House Democrats during Mr Trump’s first impeachment trial, also told The Independent that he thinks the co-defendants who are now cooperating will fare far worse , than they could have been had they turned ex-president sooner.
“The best offers have already been awarded. It’s like a season ticket – the earlier you buy, the better the value,” he said. “The good deals were for the wrong voters, many of whom received immunity without having to agree to jail time.”
Mr Eisen also pointed out that Ms Willis has in the past sued Rico defendants “sometimes on very generous terms” in exchange for cooperation.
“So I think we’re going to see some of these individuals turn against the former president and the remaining co-conspirators,” he said.
But another attorney speaking to Georgia-based defense attorney Andrew Flesichman of The Independent expressed serious doubts that any of the 18 non-Trump co-defendants would turn against the ex-president, citing the relatively lenient ones penalties they could face if convicted the lack of leverage that state prosecutors have compared to their federal counterparts.
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Mr. Fleischman pointed out that the federal experts who have commented on the case in the press do not consider how the federal system coerces defendants into dealing because there is no there is a probationary period.
“For most of these people, the conviction isn’t even that bad,” he said.
“All of these crimes you can get direct parole for, and all of these people are first-time offenders and it doesn’t count as a crime on their record, so I don’t think there’s that much pressure from the state to convict people .” as some people say.”
Mr Fleischman said it was more likely that the people who wanted to attack Mr Trump had already done so. He also pointed out that the co-defendants, who were fake voters, had a credible defense if they claimed they had been lied to by other co-defendants.
“If you stick with Donald Trump, you can still up your defense of being lied to, which is a pretty good defense for these bogus voters, and then their debunking of the verdict isn’t that bad,” he said. “I could understand if on any principle they want to take it to court.”
The Independent has reached out to Mr Trump’s representatives for comment.