With his scheduled departure from the White House, Donald Trump risks losing quite a bit of protection. Beaten this Saturday by Joe Biden, after four endless days of counting, the future former US president could find himself caught up by the many court cases that have revolved around the presidency during his mandate but without ever reaching it.
From a constitutional point of view, this question of presidential immunity does not appear in black and white in the texts. But one of the founding fathers of the American Constitution, Alexander Hamilton, had written that the president could “after his mandate be prosecuted and punished by the ordinary law”, implying that he enjoyed a kind of immunity during the period. his presidency.
The most troublesome case for the deposed Republican, who refused for several years to publish his tax sheets, probably concerns the suspicions of tax evasion hanging over him. “He knows that if his tax returns are disclosed, he, his children and other relatives will be accused of tax evasion, which will not only cost him his freedom but his entire business,” said at HuffPost Michael Cohen, his former lawyer, himself in the sights of justice and sentenced to three years in prison in December 2018, notably for having defrauded his taxes and lied to Congress.
Manhattan District Attorney’s Procedure
Criminal proceedings, initiated by the Manhattan prosecutor, Cyrus Vance Jr., also target such facts of tax fraud, but also of insurance fraud and accounting manipulations. “Cyrus Vance Jr. has already had Trump in his sights for a while, without necessarily having to wait for the end of his term,” points out political scientist Jean-Eric Branaa, lecturer at Paris-2. But Trump’s departure from the White House could still lift some constraints. “We are aware that as an agent of the State, our office cannot investigate an action taken by the president in the course of his duties, nor prosecute a president in office”, admitted last May Carey Dunne , general counsel for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
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“Trump is also in trouble with the tax authorities over fraudulent cases involving several hundred million dollars. In the event of electoral defeat, I think that its creditors would not be very loose, ”underlines for her part the historian Nicole Bacharan, specialist of the United States. Mary Trump, the niece of the American president, also published in early October a scathing attack targeting the Trump clan, accused of family fraud.
Donald Trump also potentially has concerns about morality matters. “Several dozen women accused him of sexual assault and a number of them filed a complaint. These cases are taking their course and could now accelerate, ”points out Nicole Bacharan. As for the columnist E. Jean Carroll, who accuses him of rape, she also filed a defamation complaint. The American president had called his remarks a “complete lie”.
“He will multiply the calls everywhere”
As for the file of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump said he had been cleared by the report of prosecutor Robert Mueller. The latter had however pointed to acts of obstruction of justice, but he had not indicted the American president so far, because of his status. “For this case to be reopened and possibly target Trump, there would have to be some really new elements in the file,” said the historian.
Either way, the former real estate mogul will have a battalion of hundreds of lawyers who can exhaust the maximum amount of recourse and drag out proceedings for months or even years. “We are talking about a billionaire and we know that justice is not done for the poor. He will multiply the calls wherever there will be trials, ”points out Jean-Eric Branaa.
Still, there is a risk that all this time will be spent with legal balls on his feet. Some begin to imagine that a presidential pardon could be negotiated with Joe Biden, as part of a sort of agreement aimed at ensuring the unity of a country very divided between the two “clans”. Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen summed it up his way: “For him, winning this election is not an option but a necessity.”
Original article by : www.leparisien.fr