- Former President Donald Trump was indicted on Thursday over a hush money settlement.
- Trump is the first ex-president to be charged with a crime.
- Some legal experts say his indictment could affect the other investigations he faces.
Former President Donald Trump’s list of legal woes could get more complicated following his indictment by a New York grand jury on Thursday.
Trump is the first ex-president to ever be charged with a crime after an investigation into a hush-money payment made to the adult-film actress Stormy Daniels. Trump is expected to voluntarily turn himself in on Tuesday in New York for his arraignment.
Although the charges have not yet been made public, ex-Manhattan prosecutors say that Trump risks felony-level state records-fraud charges that carry punishments of up to four years in prison. The chances of him going to prison, however, are slim to none.
But seveal legal experts, who are criminal defense attorneys and former prosecutors, told Insider the indictment could make other prosecutors “emboldened” to charge him in other ongoing investigations related to his role in the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot, an alleged scheme to overturn election results in Georgia, and his handling of government records.
“Alvin Bragg ripped the Band-Aid off,” Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Joshua Ritter, a partner with El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers and a former Los Angeles County prosecutor, said, referring to the Manhattan district attorney.
“He’s testing what happens when a prosecutor charges a former sitting president,” Ritter added. “If the political fallout from all this stays somewhat in check, I wouldn’t be surprised if prosecutors in Georgia and the DOJ are more emboldened to move forward and bring charges.”
In the probe into Trump’s role in the Capitol insurrection, the Justice Department is already facing pressure to prosecute the former president after the House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol recommended four charges be brought against Trump.
The Justice Department is also looking into whether or not the former president mishandled government records that were retained by Trump and those close to him after he left the White House.
The Georgia probe is looking into Trump and his allies and whether or not they tried to interfere in Georgia’s 2020 presidential election. A special grand jury has recommended multiple indictments, according to the jury’s forewoman.
Criminal defense attorney Rachel Fiset said that although prosecutors are obligated to look at their cases without having outside investigations influence their decisions, it would be hard for prosecutors not to evaluate other pending charges when deciding to bring charges of their own.
“I do believe that the New York prosecution may push the needle toward a second prosecution in Georgia, or even for the special counsel to charge Trump,” Fiset said. “A second case against the former president would no longer bear the sole burden of Trump’s supporters’ angry wrath and the ire of Trump himself would be shared with Alvin Bragg. Likewise, as more grand juries solidify charges against Trump, the prosecutions look less politically motivated, a perception which may help embolden prosecutors who may otherwise be hesitant to bring charges.”
However, Ambrosio Rodriguez, a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor for Riverside County, disagreed with the idea that the New York charges would affect other Trump investigations.
“It’s not like they see Alvin Bragg getting into the pool, so they want to be in the pool as well,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez instead said that an acquittal could actually benefit Trump in his other investigations.
“That would strike fear into prosecutors whose cases are lagging behind, and perhaps lead them to seek some sort of settlement with Trump, assuming they even have enough to charge him in the first place,” he said.