Trump-defending law professor warns Jack Smith's charges pose 'a lethal threat'
George Washington University Law professor Jonathan Turley, who has repeatedly defended former President Donald Trump publicly over the years through a wide assortment of scandals and two impeachments, warned the former president and his supporters against blowing off the charges leveled against him by special counsel Jack Smith.
In a new column published by The Messenger, Turley argued that while Trump has escaped countless scandals in the past, "this could be different."
The reason, argues Turley, is that special counsel Jack Smith has charged the former president not just with unlawfully retaining top-secret government documents, but also a series of cut-and-dry process crimes that should be easier to prove than the kinds of charges featured in the Manhattan District Attorney's case and prospective criminal charges that could be leveled against him for his role in inciting the January 6th Capitol riots.
"These charges against Trump can have the same cut-and-dried look for jurors: Either a statement was true or it was not," he writes. "While there will be a question of whether Trump or his lawyers were responsible for false representations to federal authorities about the alleged documents, the question for the jury is free from the factual and constitutional complexities suggested by his team."
Turley raises some doubts about whether Smith's case will harm Trump politically, and he says he can imagine the former president successfully using it as a rally cry for his 2024 campaign.
Nonetheless, he believes Trump has put himself in his most legally perilous position to date and he warns against taking it lightly.
"Trump is now facing the most serious criminal charges in his career," he writes. "If successful and Trump is not pardoned by himself or one of his Republican competitors (or even by a magnanimous Joe Biden), it could be a lethal threat."
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