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Donald Trump’s Third Indictment

Trump is facing four new criminal counts: conspiracy to defraud the US, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding, and conspiracy against the rights of citizens

Tomorrow at 1600 EST (2100 BST), Trump is expected at a DC federal courthouse for an arraignment
While he’s been given the option of appearing virtually, it is believed he will attend in person
In court, Trump may enter a plea, although he will not be arrested
We’ll be wrapping up our live coverage shortly but will be back tomorrow for Trump’s arraignment.

We’ve just heard that officials at the US District Court in Washington DC have rescheduled several other court appearances on the docket tomorrow – including those of several people facing charges for their participation in the 6 January riot at the US Capitol.

Those who were scheduled to appear in court included a former Chicago police officer, Karol Chwiesiuk and Jay Johnson, an actor and comedian who was fired from the popular cartoon “Bob’s Burgers” after it emerged he participated in the riot.

We don’t have many more details, but it’s likely that the court appearances are being rescheduled because of restrictions and security procedures being put into place for Donald Trump’s arraignment.

One of his lawyers, John Lauro, told NBC earlier today that Trump’s efforts to reverse the results of the 2020 presidential election were based on legal advice he received at the time.

Lauro specifically laid the blame on a former Trump lawyer, John Eastman, who played a role in encouraging Trump to call on then Vice-President Mike Pence to declare Trump the winner of the election.

Eastman is one of six co-conspirators in the most recent indictment.

“You’re entitled to believe and trust advice of counsel,” Lauro said. “You had one of the leading constitutional scholars in the US, John Eastman, say to President Trump, ‘This is a protocol that you can follow, it’s legal.’”

Lauro added that he believes this “eliminates criminal intent” on Trump’s part.

The former president’s legal team is also likely to argue that Trump’s call on supporters to march “peacefully” on the Capitol absolves him of responsibility for the violence that took place on 6 January.

While Donald Trump is expected in court on Thursday, the appearance does not mean he is going to be arrested. He’s also been given the option to appear virtually.

If he’s seen in court, it will be similar to what we’ve seen before in New York City and Miami after his two previous indictments.

Tomorrow, Trump will appear before Judge Moxila Upadhyaya at 1600 local time (2100 BST). He may be asked to enter a plea – although whether he will do so remains unclear.

Judge Upadhyaya will then set release conditions. In his last court appearance, in Miami, the judge agreed to release him without bail. He did not have to surrender his passport or have to agree to pre-trial travel restrictions or other typical requirements.

Typically, federal defendants are also fingerprinted during processing. It is unlikely that Trump, however, will have to submit his fingerprints or a DNA sample, or have a mugshot taken.

A trial could take place in the middle of the next presidential election. So voters – and not just Trump’s base but moderate Republicans, independents and crucial swing voters – will hear detailed allegations of “dishonesty, fraud and deceit” whilst being asked to vote him back into office.

It is such a cliché to describe events involving Trump as “unprecedented”. But what other word is there to describe the prospect of a US presidential candidate running a re-election campaign while being prosecuted for attempting to subvert the results of the last election?Why aren’t Trump’s alleged co-conspirators named?

There could be a number of reasons why the alleged co-conspirators are nameless, according to Aziz Huq of the University of Chicago Law School, such as the potential that these individuals could be co-operating with investigators.

That means they might testify in court.

And, just because none of the alleged co-conspirators have been charged now, that doesn’t mean prosecutors won’t seek charges in the future.


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