DENVER (KDVR) — As former President Donald Trump will become the first U.S. president to face a criminal indictment, questions linger over how it will affect his court proceedings and his reelection campaign.
“This is an historic moment. This has literally never happened before, that a former president of the United States has been indicted for a crime,” University of Denver law professor Ian Farrell said.
He said that because a case involving such a prominent person has never happened before, no one knows exactly what will happen next.
“There has certainly been famous people who have been charged with crimes. The first person who jumps to mind is OJ Simpson. OJ Simpson was not as famous as the former president,” Farrell said.
Trump jury selection ‘will be monumental’
According to Farrell, Trump’s fame will create significant challenges in court.
“We have a right to trial by jury, and usually you attempt to construct a jury of people who don’t really know the person and certainly don’t have any preformed opinions about whether they’re likely to be guilty or innocent. So I imagine the task of selecting a jury will be monumental,” he said.
Farrell believes security will also be complex. Not only will the court case attract extreme attention from the public and media, but the former president’s Secret Service team will also need to be involved in extra security sweeps.
Depending on how long the case takes to litigate, Farrell said court dates could also interfere with campaign stops in Trump’s bid to win the 2024 presidential election.
“Every piece of the process will just be made more complicated and more high stakes because of who the defendant is,” he said.
Will Trump’s indictment affect his political future?
Political experts say it is difficult to predict how the indictment could impact the political landscape and Trump’s future as a politician.
“It’s just hard to tell how this is all going to play itself out and whether or not it’s actually going to do much damage to Trump politically as a figure and as a potential presidential candidate,” Colorado State University professor of political science Kyle Saunders said.
If Trump is convicted, Saunders said it is unclear if he would be allowed to become president should he win the 2024 election.
“This is a good question, and I’m not sure we know the answer,” Saunders said.
According to the U.S. Constitution, the requirements to be president only stipulate one must meet certain age, citizenship and residency criteria. It does not say anything about a person’s criminal history.
However, Saunders said it is possible the Republican National Committee could have its own policies against a person with prior convictions holding the party’s nomination.
As far as the indictment’s effect on political sentiment, Saunders said it is equally difficult to predict.
“A lot of Republicans are defending Trump and a lot of Democrats are saying it’s about time,” he said. “With the level of polarization we already have, it almost can’t get much worse.”