Kash Patel immunity deal could carry ‘grave legal peril’ for Donald Trump, says expert

According to legal experts, immunity granted to Patel could imply that the jury is getting closer to the end

Sravasti Dasgupta
Thursday 03 November 2022 10:37 GMT
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Kash Patel immunity deal could carry ‘grave legal peril’ for Donald Trump, says expert

The immunity deal granted to Donald Trump’s aide Kash Patel could plunge the former president into legal peril, experts said.

On Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Mr Patel, who served as a national security and defence official during the Trump administration, was granted immunity from prosecution and will “soon testify” before the federal grand jury investigating the handling of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.

Mr Patel already appeared before the grand jury in October when he invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

He had been named as one of Mr Trump’s official representatives to the National Archives and Records Administration in June.

He also claimed that the former president declassified White House documents when he was in office.

According to legal experts, the immunity granted to Mr Patel could imply that the jury is getting closer to the end.

Former US attorney Barb McQuade told MSNBC that such deals are made when one has enough information about the case.

“We’re actually getting close to the end, you don’t make these kinds of deals until you feel like you know a lot about the case... you’ve seen all of the material, you’ve talked to all the other witnesses who will talk to you without immunity so it tells to me that they are getting close but there is more information that they want.

“You already had Kash Patel in front of the grand jury where he exercised his Fifth Amendment rights so to get the last piece of knowledge or intent of what Donald Trump may have said to him... so maybe it’s worth getting that to get to the finish line.”

CNN’s legal analyst Norman Eisen said to the network’s Erin Burnett that the immunity deal showed Mr Trump is in “grave criminal peril”.

“Erin, it signifies that in this investigation of the classified documents that the Department of Justice has found there is probable cause that crimes were committed when these documents were removed from the White House to Mar-a-Lago, that Kash Patel himself has some fear of self-incrimination,” he was quoted as saying by Mediaite.

“That’s why you get an immunity order, because what you have to say could get you in criminal trouble. And, Erin, I think here it also signifies grave criminal peril for Donald Trump. Because it’s pretty unusual to give this immunity to a witness.”

Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti said in a Twitter thread that the immunity deal implies that the prosecutors’ target is Mr Trump.

“If you have immunity, your answer cannot possibly incriminate you and thus you have to answer.

“So while this protects Patel, it makes it hard for him to resist testifying. That’s precisely why prosecutors took this step.

“It demonstrates that their target is Trump, not Patel, who likely would not have been chargeable anyway. This suggests that the DOJ is seriously considering charges against Trump and building a case.”

In August, the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted a court-approved search on Mr Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, seizing more than 11,000 documents, of which at least 100 were marked classified.

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