Capitol attack probe: possible lawsuits against Trump

The US Justice investigation into the attack on the Capitol and efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election is moving fast and Donald Trump is facing multiple criminal prosecutions.

The former president himself announced Tuesday that he had received a letter from federal prosecutor Jack Smith saying he has been personally targeted in the investigation. This suggests that prosecution is possible in this other case. Mr Smith declined to comment.

The stormy politician and billionaire, the big favorite for the Republican primaries for 2024, has in fact already been twice indicted by Justice: in the case of confidential White House documents and in the case of questionable payments to a former X films actress. He pleaded not guilty to both counts.

According to multiple US media, Jack Smith informed Mr Trump that in this third investigation into the lost 2020 election, he is targeting him on three counts: conspiracy against the US state, obstruction of official process and deprivation of rights.

Review in detail:

– Conspiracy against the US State –

First, Donald Trump could be charged with participating in a “conspiracy against the US state,” which requires the participation of at least two people and could be punishable by up to five years in prison.

According to Daniel Richman, a former federal prosecutor and now professor at Columbia University in New York, this is a very broad qualification that could be upheld for various Trump actions before and after the November 2020 election.

For example: Daniel Richman points out, “The insidious attempt by Donald Trump to mislead the US Congress and to suspend, even block, the recognition of the ballot”.

It is also possible that this count will be upheld by Donald Trump to qualify the pressure he has put on his Vice President Mike Pence so that he cannot validate Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in Congress on January 6, 2021, the day of the attack on the Capitol. Mike Pence did not give up.

The leader could also allow the Republican billionaire to be prosecuted for alleged election fraud committed in some states, aimed at ensuring the number of voters needed for his re-election.

This week, a Michigan state (north) judge charged 16 people who tried to usurp the act of the great voter to tip the balance in Donald Trump’s favor, following a strategy devised by two lawyers close to former President Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman who could potentially be prosecuted.

Obstruction of government process

This count covers the fact of fraudulently soliciting, in this case the certification of an election won by Joe Biden, to influence or obstruct an official process. He has already been taken into custody as more than 300 supporters of the former president stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

According to Daniel Richman, in the case of Donald Trump, it “can be used over and over again”. For example, when Donald Trump called on his supporters to “fight like the devils” shortly before marching to the seat of Congress, although he himself did not go to the Capitol that day.

Obstructing an official process is punishable by up to three years in prison.

– Violation of rights –

This qualification dates to the end of the Civil War (1861–1865). His goal thereafter was to prosecute those who wanted to deny former African-American slaves the right to vote.

This makes it possible to prosecute a person who tries to deprive a citizen of the rights provided for by the Constitution or federal laws, in particular the right to vote and the right to have this vote taken into account.

More recently, this charge has been used to prosecute people accused of electoral fraud.

“Importantly, this qualification makes it possible to show that the victims were not only state agents” but also ordinary citizens, Daniel Richman told AFP.

This can lead to a jail term of up to 10 years.

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