Trump’s free-wheeling, stream-of-consciousness speaking draws legal attention amid investigation

donald trump He talks about his legal predicament in a way that would daunt most defense attorneys.

A recent sample: In a March interview with Fox News, the former president said he had a “right to take” classified documents to a resort in Florida and didn’t say he hadn’t seen the records since leaving office.inside CNN President Trump said he spoke at City Hall earlier this month. Georgia Elections The official “You Owe Me” ballot in the 2020 Elections.

On May 10, at the same town hall, he insulted women writers as “dumb jobs.” Just a day later, the same woman, E. Jean Carroll, won a $5 million judgment against him in a civil lawsuit alleging defamation and sexual assault. On Monday, Ms. Carroll amended the lawsuit holding her accountable for her remarks at City Hall.

Trump, the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, has never hesitated to voice his opinion or take on his opponents. The problem, legal experts say, is that the former president is under close scrutiny by state and federal prosecutors, and the same prosecutors can use his statements in a variety of ways.

“Anything a defendant says, whether it’s a confession, a denial, a remark, a gibberish that doesn’t make sense, or just a dumb remark, is nothing but pure gold to the prosecution,” he said. Former U.S. Assistant Attorney Julian Himmelstein said: Washington.

Trump found himself under investigation by prosecutors from New York to Georgia.

He was indicted in March by a grand jury in Manhattan on charges related to hush-money payments made on his behalf during the 2016 presidential election. On Tuesday, a New York judge set the trial to begin on March 25, right in the middle of the primary. Trump, who appeared via videoconference, raised his hands in frustration at the timing of the trial and glared at the camera.

Georgia’s local prosecutor’s office is investigating whether the former president and his supporters broke the law to reverse their 2020 election loss. Fulton County District Attorney Fanny Willis suggested last week that charges could be filed in August. Meanwhile, a Justice Department special counsel is investigating the former president’s role in the Jan. 6, 2021 riots and the discovery of classified documents at President Trump’s Mar-a-Largo, Florida home and resort. there is

During recent media appearances and rallies, Mr. Trump has made comments that could be considered guilty, or at least complicate his defense team’s ability to fight back the charges. He seemed particularly troubled at the May 10 town hall hosted by CNN.

The former president spent nearly an hour discussing various issues and commenting on the investigation in a way that ran contrary to accepted legal advice. Not only did he insult Carroll again and provide Fulton County prosecutors with more material for her investigation, but she also tipped off the Justice Department by claiming she could not remember whether she had shown classified documents to anyone. Gave.

“Prosecutors and investigators were taking notes tonight,” said Joyce Vance, a law professor who served as an Alabama attorney under President Barack Obama, on Twitter.

Trump also suggested he was personally involved in taking the records to Mar-a-Lago, saying, “I was there and I took what I took and it will be declassified.” rice field. The remark echoes claims by Trump’s own lawyers, who, in a letter to Congress last month, also suggested that the deletion of the documents was “the result of haphazard recordkeeping and cleanup” rather than a deliberate decision by President Trump. is inconsistent with

The statement comes at a time when a documentary investigation is winding down and Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith is focusing on the issue of possible obstruction, and that President Trump and his representatives have secretly It delves into his failure to return classified records in his possession, even though he did not. A subpoena was issued to do so.

Trump’s propensity to speak out was reflected in the last special counsel investigation he faced. When he fired former FBI Director James Comey in 2017, he famously told an interviewer that he was thinking “Russia.” His lawyers tried to defend his remarks by pointing out that he also said he knew firing Comey would lengthen the Russia investigation rather than shorten it.

Legal scholars said some of Trump’s comments may not be available to prosecutors if they are not relevant to the charges or could be viewed adversely by judges.

Other evidence may be so much stronger that it may not even need to be presented to a jury. President Trump told Brad Ravensperger on CNN, “You owe me the vote,” but there was also a tape asking Georgia election officials to “find” more votes. said it was being recorded. The call took place in January 2021, when Trump was desperate to overturn the results of the Georgia election.

Anthony Michael Kleis, a law professor at Georgia State University, said it was “as irresponsible as the fact that the call was already recorded.” “If it wasn’t for the actual recording of the phone call, it could have been much worse.”

Former prosecutors and defense attorneys say their clients’ public comments could prevent them from going to juries. It can reveal their strategies and lock them into specific lines of attacking prosecutorial cases. Comments like these can also encourage clients to do everything they can to prevent them from taking the stand.

For example, while President Trump may have admitted to taking classified documents out of the White House, the attorneys said, “The purpose of the letter was to provide an opinion as to whether these documents were in fact classified or declassified. It is not to say that

If Trump were to testify, prosecutors could use such contradictory statements to poke holes in Trump’s story, making it harder for his defense team to tell juries a coherent narrative. right.

“It’s entirely possible that President Trump’s actions have made it impossible for him to testify, because if he did, he would be very hurt,” said Richard Klein, professor of criminal law at Touro University in New York. . Trump’s free-wheeling, stream-of-consciousness speaking draws legal attention amid investigation

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