‘There is a great deal of speculation as to whether former president Donald Trump will eventually be indicted for crimes allegedly committed while he was the president. Well, in what might prove to be the most serious blow yet to Trump’s effort to stay out of jail, on March 28th, a federal judge ruled that both former president Trump and Atty. John Eastman who had advised him on how to overturn the 2020 election had most likely committed felonies, including obstructing the work of Congress and conspiring to defraud the United States. The ruling represents a highly significant breakthrough for the House committee investigating the January 6th attack on the Capitol. Judge David O. Carter found that the actions taken by Trump and Eastman amounted to “a coup in search of a legal theory.”’
‘The judge’s ruling may be the House committee’s biggest win to date, as it suggests that the investigators have already built a case strong enough to convince a federal judge of Trump’s culpability in the January 6th insurrection.
Specifically, the ruling means that the House committee will now receive more than 100 emails related to the legal strategy proposed by Eastman to pressure Vice President Mike Pence not to certify electors from swing states when Congress convened on January 6, and thus to not certify the electoral vote. In making his ruling Judge Carter said, “Dr. Eastman and President Trump launched a campaign to overturn a democratic election, an action unprecedented in American history.”
Just how significant is this federal court ruling? What would a federal prosecutor need to show a judge and jury to be able to hold Trump liable for his actions around January 6th? And what about other actions by the former president while in office that many criminal law experts claim were illegal? And, of course, what role will politics ultimately play in determining whether Trump ever stands trial and is convicted by a jury?’