Trump’s indictment convictions could spell ‘life sentence,’ legal experts say

Neama Rahmani, the president of West Coast Trial Lawyers and an ex-federal prosecutor, conveyed to Newsweek that any lengthy sentence would effectively serve as a life sentence for Trump due to his advanced age.  

Trump’s indictment convictions could spell ‘life sentence,’ legal experts say
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
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Ex-President Donald Trump, now 77 years old, could be facing what equates to a life sentence if he's found guilty in all three recent indictments, according to legal authorities.

Neama Rahmani, the president of West Coast Trial Lawyers and an ex-federal prosecutor, conveyed to Newsweek that any lengthy sentence would effectively serve as a life sentence for Trump due to his advanced age.

Special Counsel Jack Smith dropped a federal indictment on Trump earlier this week related to the January 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol and Trump's alleged endeavors to overturn the 2020 election results. The charges leveled against Trump encompass conspiracy to defraud the U.S., conspiracy against rights, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, and the obstruction or attempted obstruction of an official proceeding.

Smith, while announcing the indictment, labeled the Capitol attack as an "unprecedented assault on the seat of American democracy," spurred by Trump's false claims aimed at hindering a fundamental function of the U.S. government – the electoral process.

Earlier this year, Smith indicted Trump for purportedly mishandling classified documents discovered at his Mar-a-Lago estate last summer. A third indictment came from the Manhattan District Attorney's Office accusing Trump of falsifying business records during his 2016 campaign.

Michael McAuliffe, an ex-federal prosecutor and former Palm Beach County state attorney, deemed the contemplation of potential jail time for Trump, assuming he's convicted in any or all cases, as intriguing but speculative. He expressed doubts about the effectiveness of sentencing guidelines, which determine a range for a presumptive sentence based on numerical values assigned to different factors.

The aim of such guidelines is to ensure similar sentences for similar defendants, but McAuliffe believes that Trump's circumstances are unique. He adds, "It's too early to predict possible sentences. That's not only too far ahead in the book to read, those chapters haven't been written yet"

Echoing McAuliffe's sentiments, Rahmani stated that sentencing guidelines are merely advisory, and judges wield considerable discretion in terms of sentencing Trump, should he be convicted, up to the statutory maximum. They can also decide whether the sentences run concurrently or consecutively.

Legal political analyst Andrew Lieb, in his conversation with Newsweek, explained that if Trump is found guilty, the recent Washington indictment carries a sentence of up to 55 years, the indictment over the classified documents could lead to a maximum of 450 years, and the New York charges could result in a maximum of 136 years.

He concluded, "That all said, even with sentencing guidelines greatly reducing the number of years, and even if the judges each order concurrent rather than consecutive sentences, any 77-year-old is facing a life sentence no matter how you shake it."

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  • By Ezra Levant

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