If Trump is found guilty, then what? He’s bracing voters for the worst

Washington – when Former President and 2024 election candidate Donald Trump He claims that the judicial system wants Put him in prisonHe doesn’t just protest An ongoing hush money trial.

Trump is also preparing voters for the possibility of a guilty verdict.

At political rallies, on social media, and to reporters gathered in the New York courtroom, Trump’s attacks on the trial They were designed in part to convince voters to ignore bad governance, according to aides, legal analysts and a review of his statements.

“The justice system in New York has been absolutely abused,” Trump told reporters on Friday. “The whole world is watching.”

Trump is accused of improperly influencing the 2016 presidential election Paying women hush moneyIn an effort to prevent them from spreading sexual relations. He pleaded not guilty.

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Former President Donald Trump addresses the media alongside his attorney Todd Blanche before the resumption of his trial in Manhattan Criminal Court on charges of falsifying documents related to hush money payments, in New York, New York, on Friday, May 10, 2024. The former president is expected to spend the next few weeks attending his trial on charges Falsifying business records, to cover payments to Stormy Daniels, an adult film star who allegedly met Trump before he took office.

Trump targets moderate voters

Trump has not explicitly said he expects a guilty verdict, and he sometimes expresses public optimism about the outcome of the trial. “There are a lot of good things happening in this case,” the former said Thursday.

But he spent much more time claiming political bias By the judgeProsecutors and juries, and he argues without evidence that his political opponents will do anything to put him behind bars.

Trump and his supporters also expect the guilty verdict to be overturned on appeal, a step that would not be necessary if he is acquitted or if there is a hung jury.

Legal experts said Trump had no choice but to prepare for a guilty verdict, given how it would affect his campaign against him. President Joe Biden.

By claiming the trial was unfair, Trump’s targets include moderate and independent voters who have long questioned his behavior.

“His base is going to believe everything he says,” said Bradley P. Moss, a Washington, D.C., attorney who specializes in government transparency issues. “The question is the independents.”

GRAND RAPIDS, MI - APRIL 02: Former US President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event on April 02, 2024 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Trump gave a speech called for by his campaign

Trump appeals to New Jersey

Trump’s latest effort to prepare supporters for bad legal news comes Saturday at a campaign rally in Wildwood, New Jersey

This will be Trump’s first campaign rally since 2008 It happened at the airport on May 1 in Freeland, Michiganwhere he spoke at length about his legal concerns.

While discussing the ongoing trial in New York, Trump said “we haven’t made a decision here, but the decision here is probably only one thing, I think… because… this whole thing — it’s a rigged deal;

Trump also likened the silent money trial to the major civil cases he lost, One on bank loan fraud And two others for defamation and sexual assault Writer E. Jean Carroll.

In all, the civil courts ordered Trump to pay more than $500 million in damages.

“Hopefully we win all of those things easily on appeal,” Trump said at one point in Michigan.

Deborah Tarasoff, an employee of the Trump Organization's accounting department, is questioned by Attorney General Christopher Conroy before Judge Juan Merchan during the criminal trial of former US President Donald Trump on charges of falsifying business records to hide money paid to silence porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016. In court State of Manhattan in New York City, United States, May 6, 2024 in this diagram of a courtroom.

“Coordinating Trump’s Conviction”

Trump is also trying to dismiss the New York ruling by citing legal analysts who agree with his criticism of the case. Some say they believe Trump is bound by a guilty verdict because of the way New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchant conducted the trial.

in Social function of truth On May 5, Trump cited former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy’s comments describing “how Judge Merchan is orchestrating Trump’s conviction.”

He also attacks Trump A gag order was issued against himHe described it as an attempt to fix the issue. Merchan found that Trump violated a ten-item gag order regarding attacks on witnesses and court personnel.

Reading criticism of the issue on Friday, Trump said he had to do it Be careful Because of the gag order: “If I say the wrong word, they will come here and take me to prison somewhere, because that is the case with this judge – he wants to show how tough he is.”

In this published photo provided by the US Department of Justice, stacks of boxes can be seen in the bathroom and shower in the lake room of the Mar-a-Lago Club at former US President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.  .  Former President Donald Trump has been indicted on 37 criminal counts in the special counsel's classified documents investigation.

Replay: Trump previously warned of indictments

The political world has seen this kind of courtroom drama before, before Trump was first indicted.

In late 2022 and early 2023, Trump braced his supporters for the possibility of indictments, seeking to discredit them early on by denouncing the investigations as politically motivated.

In June of 2023, three months after the hush money indictment, Trump told a group of Republicans in New Hampshire “It is possible that others will come,” he described as “interference in the elections.”

Trump ended up under indictment Four separate criminal cases.

In addition to the New York hush money case, the former president faces trial in South Florida on charges of mishandling classified information, and two cases in Washington, D.C., and Georgia on federal and state charges, respectively, of trying to steal the 2020 election from Biden. .

Trump is Seeking delay The last three trials continue until after Election Day on November 5. He may succeed, leaving the New York case as his only trial during the campaign.

Politically, The indictments may have helped Trumpat least with the hardcore Republican voters who fueled his drive for the 2024 presidential nomination.

Polls and primaries also reflect skepticism of moderate and independent voters toward Trump, some of whom continue to support him. Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley Even after she dropped out of the race.

Stormy Daniels leaves Manhattan Criminal Court after testifying in the trial of former US President Donald Trump for allegedly covering up illicit financial payments related to extramarital affairs, in New York City, on May 9, 2024. Adult film actress Daniels returned to the witness stand Thursday in the trial Trump in exchange for hush money for another round of questioning by the former president's lawyers.

Political influence

On the other hand, Trump is preparing to issue an actual ruling in the New York case – and with unknown political influence.

Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University who is often cited by Trump, said the former president’s complaints about the “weaponized justice system” are legitimate.

Even if Trump is convicted, Turley said, he has a good chance of having the case overturned on appeal because “the whole case is turning into a dumpster fire.”

Turley also said: “No one would bet on Trump being acquitted by a New York jury,” but it is possible that jurors will deadlock and be unable to render any verdict.

He said Trump could legitimately celebrate the hung jury as a victory.

Whatever the merits of the case, Moss said the judicial system is treating Trump fairly. For example, Moss said any other defendant would now be in prison for violating gag orders as Trump did. “If there was anything, it was handled with kid gloves,” he said.

Moss also said that although Trump’s base will stick with him no matter what, it’s hard to see how a guilty verdict will help him.

“I don’t see anything good coming from this for Trump,” Moss said. “The question is how much damage it does.”

Contributing: Bart Janssen

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