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Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales expressed his view on Friday that former President Donald Trump should face imprisonment if found guilty of federal charges stemming from special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into the events of January 6. Gonzales, who served during the administration of former President George W. Bush, conveyed this stance in an interview on MSNBC.
According to Fox, in the interview Gonzales stated, “Should he be proven guilty of the offenses outlined by Jack Smith and the Department of Justice, I believe he should undergo a period of incarceration, to be candid.” Gonzales shared his thoughts with host Jen Psaki, a former press secretary under President Biden. He continued, “While there are individuals who participated in the Capitol events on January 6, perhaps not under President Trump’s explicit direction, his lack of intervention in the unfolding events cannot be ignored. Some of these individuals are already serving sentences.”
Gonzales argued that it would be equitable for Trump to be subject to imprisonment if he is convicted of the charges levied against him. Nevertheless, he cautioned that the path to that point is still lengthy. Trump, who is currently the leading contender for the GOP nomination in the 2024 presidential race, faces charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding, and conspiracy against rights.
Should he be found guilty, Trump could potentially face a maximum sentence of 20 years for charges related to obstructing official proceedings. Additionally, he could face up to 10 years for the conspiracy against rights charge and a maximum of five years for the conspiracy to defraud the United States charge. Earlier this month, Trump entered a plea of not guilty to these charges in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
The indictment is a result of Smith’s investigation into whether Trump, alongside other officials and entities, interfered with the peaceful transition of power following the 2020 presidential election. This includes the events surrounding the certification of the Electoral College vote on January 6, 2021.
The case is being overseen by Judge Tanya Chutkan, known for her stringent approach to Capitol riot defendants. The Justice Department has recommended a trial commencement date of January 2, 2024, while Trump’s legal team advocates for a trial date of April 2026. They argue that the complexity of the case, along with the substantial volume of evidence amounting to 11.5 million pages, necessitates more time for review. Trump’s attorneys estimate needing to assess around 100,000 pages per day to meet the proposed trial date set by the Justice Department.
An anticipated trial date is anticipated to be established during a court hearing scheduled for August 28. Notably, Trump, along with 18 co-defendants, is facing charges related to election result manipulation in Fulton County, Georgia. A trial date of March 4 has been suggested by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, conveniently aligned with Super Tuesday when a significant number of delegates are at stake in the Republican primary contest.
On March 25, the former president is due in a New York state court regarding a case involving alleged hush money payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. Furthermore, a federal judge in Florida has arranged a trial date of May 20 for charges related to Trump’s alleged unauthorized retention and concealment of classified documents.