A federal judge has ruled that Trump “probably” committed crimes in office

In a ruling in the wake of the congressional inquiry into the January 6, 2001, attack on the US capital, a federal judge ruled this week that it was “more likely than not” that former President Donald Trump committed two separate federal crimes as part of a coup attempt. Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential race.

The ruling, by David O. Carter, a U.S. district court judge in central California, Southern California, was an attempt by attorney John C. Eastman, the former president’s adviser, to claim that the U.S. Congress was looking for specific documents. A selection committee to investigate the attack on the US capital on January 6 is privileged and that the committee is not entitled to it.

The case concerned 111 documents, the majority of which the judge considered to be material without privilege. Parliamentary investigators argued that the 11 who may have been privileged under normal circumstances fall under the “crime exemption”, which argues that documents could not be considered privileged if they were created to help commit a crime.

Key discovery

Carter ruled that only one of the documents was subject to an exception for criminal fraud, but he said he explicitly believed that the evidence in the case indicated that Trump had committed two federal crimes.

“Based on the evidence, the court considers it more likely than not that President Trump and Dr. “Eastman has dishonestly plotted to block the joint session of January 6, 2021,” Carter wrote.

In addition, he wrote: “Based on the evidence, the Court considers it more likely than not that President Trump corruptly sought to block the January 6, 2021 Joint Session.

President Joe Biden speaks from the Statuary Hall in the US House of Representatives on the occasion of the one-year anniversary of the January 6 riots in the House of Representatives by supporters of the then President Donald Trump, on Thursday, January 6, 2022, in Washington.

Legal first

“Given that this is the first time, I think, that a court opinion has explicitly called the president a criminal, it can be said that it is unusual,” Mark A. Graber, a law professor at the University of Maryland School of Law, told VOA.

The verdict, Graber said, was “clear and straightforward, but probably indicative.” The evidence shows that the former president probably committed a crime. “

However, Graber pointed out that to the extent that the ruling itself does any harm to the former president, he is, at least for the time being, purely political.

Trump has not been formally charged with a crime, Graber said, and “a judge cannot issue a ruling declaring an individual a criminal.

Trump answers

A spokesman for the former president said Carter’s ruling was “absurd and baseless”.

Trump, who has used his personal website to publish statements since he was removed from major social media in 2021, seemed to respond to the ruling in two statements.

One, released on Monday, said: “Then radical left-wing Democrats in parliament and the non-governmental committee continue to try to ruin the lives of very good people, but have no interest in pursuing criminals and thugs who betray like crazy dogs. in 2020. Presidential election. All the evidence is there and conclusive, but they, and the fake media, refuse to look at or report it. They call it the big lie, but the big lie is the exact opposite – they are the liars, they are the scammers … “

On Tuesday, the former president followed up with another statement: “So let’s be clear. Democrats commit massive and staggering voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election, and they want Republicans in jail for investigating and protesting very skewed elections? Republicans have to be tough (and smart!) And not let them get away with the crime of the century! “

U.S. courts have repeatedly found no credible evidence of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election, dismissing a number of lawsuits filed by Trump’s allies.

Possible signpost

Although Carter’s ruling is not the same as the actual indictment of the former president, he could certainly be seen as a guide to criminal cases that some federal judges might find convincing, according to observers.

“Obviously Carter is trying to push people in that direction and the judges are presenting road maps all the time,” Graber said.

It is still unclear whether the Ministry of Justice intends to file charges against the former president.

The ruling seems to make it more likely that the committee on January 6 will refer to the Ministry of Justice in a criminal case. However, this already seemed likely, as committee members have publicly stated that they believe they have evidence that the former president committed crimes related to the attempted overthrow of the election.

Other evidence is missing

The ruling came just days before the Washington Post and CBS News reported that White House records of President Trump’s phone calls on January 6 were in fact empty for more than seven and a half hours, including the time the Capitol was attacked. .

The records, known as the president’s “daily diary,” are required by law to contain a record of the president’s activities during the day, including the names of the people he talks to on the phone. The lack of a record of telephone calls during the attack on the capital contradicts numerous reports that Trump spoke to lawmakers and others at the time.

Lack of records has led to speculation that Trump used assistive phones, or perhaps “burner” phones that were supposed to be used and then discarded.

In a statement to the Washington Post, Trump said: “I have no idea what a burner phone is, as far as I know I have never heard of the term.

A federal judge has ruled that Trump “probably” committed crimes in office

Source link A federal judge has ruled that Trump “probably” committed crimes in office

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