Legal experts weigh in on Donald Trump's possible witness tampering

Legal experts weigh in on Donald Trump's possible witness tampering
Donald Trump at Trump Tower (Shutterstock).

Legal experts are weighing in on former President Donald Trump's possible involvement in witness tampering and the consequences he could face for his alleged actions.

According to HuffPost, the latest discussion comes shortly after Rep. Liz Cheney's (R-Wyo) remarks expressing concern about witness statements. On Tuesday, the Republican lawmaker suggested that some witnesses have not "testified as 'fully and forthrightly' as others because of interference from Trump’s inner circle, citing two statements from witnesses."

One witness also shared an account that appeared to support Cheney's concerns.

READ MORE: He's thinking about you': Twitter explodes with calls to charge Donald Trump with witness tampering

“What they said to me is, ‘As long as I continue to be a team player, they know that I’m on the team, I’m doing the right thing, I’m protecting who I need to protect, you know, I’ll continue to stay in good graces in Trump World,’” one witness said to the committee.

Now, legal experts are assessing the account and sharing their expertise from a legal perspective. “Anything that would deflect from that course, if undertaken intentionally, is probably a crime,” said O’Brien, now a partner at Ford O’Brien Landy LLP.

The most notable aspect of the federal law that governs witness tampering allows for a maximum of 20 years in prison for any individual who “knowingly uses intimidation, threatens, or corruptly persuades another person, or attempts to do so, or engages in misleading conduct toward another person, with intent to… influence, delay, or prevent the testimony of any person in an official proceeding.”

Per HuffPost, the legal statute also indicates that it is not defined as witness tampering “if the conduct consisted solely of lawful conduct and that the defendant’s sole intention was to encourage, induce, or cause the other person to testify truthfully.”

The latest assessments come just days after the groundbreaking testimony from former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows' aide, Cassidy Hutchinson who offered an incriminating testimony about Trump's actions amid the chaos that erupted on Jan. 6. Although his supporters were considered to be armed and dangerous, the former disgraced president actually wanted to go to the Capitol with them.

“I don’t f**ing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me,” Trump said, according to Hutchinson.

The news outlet also noted that the two witness statements on Tuesday did not include actual threats. Per HuffPost: ″'[A person] let me know you have your deposition tomorrow,' someone in close proximity to Trump wrote in a partially redacted message to a witness. 'He wants me to let you know he’s thinking about you. He knows you’re loyal and you’re going to do the right thing when you go in for your deposition.'”

However, another legal expert also shared a different perspective on threats and how they actually work. During a recent interview, Tamara Lave, a University of Miami law professor, noted that even if there was not an actual threat, it is no secret that Trump usually seeks revenge on those who are disloyal to him.

“If I know that, then I might really be afraid that if Trump is upset with me for not testifying the way that he perceives that I should testify, then not only am I likely to have some consequences to my employment," Lave said, adding, "but there could be consequences to my safety or the safety of my family.”

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal
{{ }}