Trump legal advisers warn him not to hold press conference railing against Georgia case

Ex-president is now under four criminal indictments

John Bowden
Washington DC
Thursday 17 August 2023 17:16 BST
Donald Trump indicted for fourth time

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Louise Thomas

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Donald Trump may not end up hosting a press conference to refute allegations of criminal activity in front of member of the media, as he has done in similar previous instances.

The ex-president had vowed to do so in a Truth Social posting after being indicted this week on 13 felony counts in Georgia, where he and members of his campaign sought to alter the results of the 2020 presidential election and prove baseless claims of voter and election fraud.

But now those plans appear to be in question, according to ABC News, which cited sources close to the former president as saying that Mr Trump’s legal team strongly urged him against further addressing the allegations in public and taking questions from reporters on the matter.

Doing so would “complicate his legal problems”, ABC reports the former president as having been advised by his attorneys.

It’s an unsurprising piece of advice, and a common one that attorneys often offer their clients. What’s more surprising is the notion that Mr Trump actually appears to be taking it, rather than plowing ahead at full steam as he did following his first federal indictment on charges of illegally retaining defence materials and other presidential records, including classified documents, from the White House.

Mr Trump almost immediately hosted a press conference at his Bedminster resort and golf course after those charges were handed down. The seriousness of his mounting legal problems appears to be breaking through, however, following his latest criminal charging.

Legal experts have speculated for months that Mr Trump is hoping to evade the reach of the Justice Department by winning the presidency a second time. A victory in the election would be irrelevant to his prosecution in Georgia, where a presidential pardon would not affect state charges. If Mr Trump were to be convicted of his RICO charge, he would face mandatory jail time.

Were a conviction to occur on any of his charges, his fate would ultimately be in the hands of a state Board of Pardons, given that Georgia’s constitution does not grant that power to the governor as do other states’ laws.

Mr Trump has loudly denied guilt in any of the charges he faces, though not for lack of evidence; he instead has insisted that no wrongdoing occurred on a recording of a telephone call where he is heard pressuring Georgia’s top elections official to “find” more than 11,000 votes to add to his total in the state.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, whose office is overseeing the prosecution of the former president in Georgia, has given Mr Trump a surrender date of no later than 25 August.

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