Republican candidate for the 2024 presidential election, Donald Trump was indicted for the fourth time Tuesday by a grand jury in Georgia in the case concerning the subversion of the 2020 election results in the state.
According to the indictment, Donald Trump along with 18 others was “illegally conspiring and attempting to conduct and participate in a criminal enterprise” after his loss in Georgia, CNN reported.
The accusations include making false statements and soliciting state legislatures, and high-ranking state officials, fabricating and disseminating false electoral college documents, intimidating poll workers, soliciting Justice Department officials, soliciting Mike Pence when he was vice president, illegally tampering with election machinery, and obstructionist acts.
The indictment states: “… conspiracy contained a common plan and purpose to commit two or more acts of racketeering activity in Fulton County, Georgia, elsewhere in the State of Georgia, and in other states.”
Along with the people charged, the indictment also named 30 other unindicted co-conspirators.
The former president was earlier indicted three times with the prior one in an investigation concerning the overturning of the 2020 election results and instigating his supporters to storm Capitol Hill as he was losing the office to incumbent President Joe Biden.
But there is a question among people what if Donald Trump wins the presidential election? Can he retain the US Presidency despite being convicted of the charges against him?
Experts have maintained that he can assume the Oval Office even though the 77-year-old is indicted.
Law professor Richard L Hasen from the University of California Los Angeles has told CNN that the 77-year-old Republican candidate still has a path to serving as president should he win reelection in 2024.
“The Constitution has very few requirements to serve as President, such as being at least 35 years of age. It does not bar anyone indicted, or convicted, or even serving jail time, from running as president and winning the presidency,” Hasen has said who is an expert on election law.
However, there is less clarity on the matter of a president facing criminal charges who could serve from prison.
“How someone would serve as president from prison is a happily untested question,” Hasen said.
Can Donald Trump pardon himself if reelected?
According to the indictment, Donald Trump was once again charged with defrauding the election results, this time in Georgia.
The earlier criminal charges were separate from those 40 counts in that special counsel Smith is investigating regarding the alleged mishandling of classified documents and those 34 charges of falsifying business records related to an alleged hush money payment made to an adult film star Stormy Daniels.
Hansen maintained that if Trump wins the election and is convicted before winning, he can pardon himself.
“Whether he can do so is untested. The Supreme Court may have to weigh in,” Hasen has said, adding that Trump could “potentially appeal a conviction to the conservative Supreme Court.”
If elected, can Donald Trump dismiss Justice Department case?
While speaking to the press conference after the indictment, Special Counsel Smith said he will seek a “speedy trial”, but if the first-ever indicted former president in US history becomes in-charge of the country before a trial convicts him, “he may be able to dismiss it entirely”.
A lawyer who was Trump’s attorney during his first impeachment Robert Ray told CNN after his client’s indictment in the secret documents case, the former president would control the Justice Department if reelected, adding that if “the documents case was pending at that time, he just dismisses the case.”
Trump’s defence attorney John Lauro while talking about the latest indictment told CNN that he thinks a potential trial could last “nine months or a year.”
Lauro said he will need to see the evidence but that his client deserves as much time as any other citizen. “Every single person in the US is entitled to due process, including the former president,” he said.
Can Donald Trump cast a vote while convicted?
The former President Trump cannot vote if he is convicted of a felony at the federal level or in New York, at least until he had served out a potential sentence.