Legal scholar and George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley reacted to the unsealed indictment of former President Donald Trump on Fox News Friday and said that it “seems unlikely that they can get this to trial before the election” given the “broad array of witnesses.”
“That could make the election a type of referendum on how people feel about this case,” he said. “You may have a second jury composed of tens of millions of Americans essentially voting on this. Because if he is elected, he could pardon himself.” (RELATED: Trump Indictment Unsealed)
Among the 37-counts contained in the 49-page indictment, Turley said the biggest issues were the obstruction and false statements charges.
He said it is “an extremely damning indictment.”
“The special counsel knew that there would be a lot of people who were going to allege that the Department of Justice was acting in a biased or a politically motivated way,” Turley said. “This is clearly an indictment that was drafted to answer those questions. It’s overwhelming in details.”
“They are going to have to get these witnesses to show that it is not as cut and dry as this indictment says,” he said. “That’s going to take a lot of work.”
Trump is a “counter-puncher” who tends to “shove back when shoved,” Turley said, which is “not necessarily the best inclination when you’re dealing with classified documents.”
“Once again, we have a narrative here that was written by people who want to send the former president away for the rest of his life, so we have to read this indictment with that in mind,” he said. “But parts of this indictment sort of have a certain pattern.”
In addition to 31-counts alleging “the willful retention of national defense information,” the indictment includes counts against Trump for a “conspiracy to obstruct Justice,” “witholding a document or record,” “corruptly concealing a document or record,” “concealing a document in a federal investigation,” “a scheme to conceal,” and “false statements and representations.”
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