Legal observers have raised the possibility that President Trump may not be eligible to receive a pardon for any newly filed criminal charges in Georgia.
This is due to the fact that governors are unable to issue such pardons in the state, and it remains uncertain if Trump can pardon himself since the charges he faces fall under state law.
“With a federal case, if he wins the election, he can kind of make it go away,” ABC legal analyst Dan Abrams said on Good Morning America. “This case, he can’t do that.”
The 13-count indictment in Georgia is perhaps the most comprehensive of the four cases brought against former President Donald Trump, alleging that he engaged in a “criminal enterprise” to remain in office.
Regarding pardons, Georgia’s five-member Pardons Board can only consider those applications that are filed no earlier than five years after a convict has completed their sentence.
It is uncertain how Governor Brian Kemp (R) would act should he have the authority to pardon individuals; Trump and Kemp have had a strained relationship due to Kemp’s refusal to accept Trump’s allegations of electoral fraud.
Speculation regarding potential pardons for former President Donald Trump may be premature, but he is undoubtedly facing an uphill legal battle. Across four separate cases in Georgia, Florida, Washington and New York – all heavily pro-Biden areas with the exception of Florida – Trump faces a total prison sentence of over 700 years.
This unprecedented situation has raised difficult questions about what lies ahead, as a conviction would not necessarily bar him from reclaiming the presidency.
Debate continues to swirl around the scope of relief available to him through pardons.
Mark Levin, a Fox News host and lawyer, is a notable exception in asserting that President Trump could pardon himself from state charges. He maintains that the tradition discouraging indicting sitting presidents also logically applies to both state and federal charges.
President Trump can, in fact, pardon himself from the GA charges if he is elected president.
1. The Constitution's silent about whether a president can be indicted.
2. The DOJ has taken the position under both parties that you cannot indict a sitting president because it would…
— Mark R. Levin (@marklevinshow) August 15, 2023
Fani Willis, the Fulton County prosecutor, has requested a trial date for March in order to expedite proceedings; however, pre-trial litigation may delay the case.
Additionally, Donald Trump and his former chief of staff Mark Meadows, one of eighteen individuals named as “co-conspirators” in Georgia, have each applied to move their cases to federal court where more favorable juries could be found.
It is thought that if Trump were to win reelection he could potentially delay any sentencing. Although this outcome appears unlikely, it is not out of the realm of possibility given Trump’s track record of success.