Former U.S. President Donald Trump’s trial will be a “long slog” with his controversial indictment likely to energize his supporter base, but won’t bode well for his 2024 election campaign, said a former assistant U.S. attorney.
Trump was arraigned at the Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City on Tuesday for 34 felony counts during his 2016 presidential campaign, becoming the first former U.S. president to be criminally indicted.
Gene Rossi, a veteran civil and criminal lawyer at the Justice Department and former federal prosecutor, believes the charges are well founded.
“I think it’s going to be a trial that will last probably two to three weeks. The trial may not occur for about a year and a half. You’re going to have a ton of motions, motions to dismiss, motions to change venue, motions for selective prosecution. So it’s going to be a long slog before we get to the trial,” said Rossi, who is the former assistant U.S. attorney in Eastern District of Virginia.
While the indictment will generate yet more hype for Trump’s fans and provide “rocket fuel” for his supporter base, Rossi believes that while the latest controversy might see him solidify his popularity among certain voters, it will likely not play well when it comes to the nationwide vote in 2024.
“In the primary, it’s going to be rocket fuel. It’s going to energize the mega base, the people who love Trump. Way back in the day, I think it was 2015, Donald Trump said at a press conference, ‘I could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and they would still vote for me.’ As a matter of fact, if he did shoot somebody, his supporters would say it was an act of self-defense. They love him, they love him to death. And I think this in the short term, in the primary, it will help him. In the long term, in a general election, I think this is very bad for him,” he said.
The former president appeared in court on Tuesday afternoon to be fingerprinted. However, he was not photographed or put in handcuffs like other criminal defendants.
He reportedly left court around 45 minutes later and flew back to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.
During the 2016 elections, Trump and others employed a “catch and kill” scheme to identify, purchase, and bury negative information about him and boost his electoral prospects, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office announced in a press release.
Trump then tried to hide this conduct by writing dozens of false entries in business records to conceal criminal activity, including attempts to violate state and federal election laws, the release alleged.
The New York State Supreme Court indictment cited three instances of hush-money payments to cover up Trump’s alleged affairs.