Pardon-Proof? Or Can Trump Escape Georgia’s Charges?

Photo edit of President Donald J. Trump.
Photo edit of President Donald J. Trump.

Trump’s Limited Pardon Options in Georgia

  • Former U.S. President Donald Trump is facing 13 counts in Fulton County, Georgia, and is constrained in seeking a pardon.
  • The governor of Georgia doesn’t have the power to grant pardons. This power lies with the State Board of Pardons and Paroles, consisting of five members with seven-year terms.
  • The board doesn’t consider parole applications until five years of the sentence has been served, without other pending criminal charges.

Possible Alternatives and Challenges

  • Trump could attempt to change Georgia’s procedure by influencing the Republican legislature.
  • This alteration would necessitate a constitutional amendment, requiring a two-thirds vote in both state legislative houses and ratification by Georgia voters, a complicated and arduous process.
  • Trump also has the possibility to pardon himself if he wins the U.S. presidency again, a contentious and untested legal approach.

Unconventional Strategies and Legal Questions

  • Conservative radio host Mark Levin posited that Trump might apply federal pardoning to state charges, using the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, an unprecedented maneuver.
  • Trump can also follow Mark Meadows’s strategy to move the case to federal court, then seek dismissal or pardon himself if he wins the 2024 presidency.
  • These approaches raise novel legal questions, as no former or current president has faced indictment at the state or federal level before.

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