Donald Trump’s repeated public outbursts over his ongoing legal troubles may only be adding fuel to the fire.
Most defendants are advised against speaking publicly on active criminal proceedings against them. Of course, most defendants are also not an outspoken Republican frontrunner who has gained a reputation for saying whatever he wishes.
Public statements, whether made in-person or online, can be used against a defendant even after the court papers have been filed.
It’s a scenario that has already happened to Trump, with writer E. Jean Carroll amending her defamation lawsuit against the former president after he called her a “whack job” at a CNN town hall in May.
Throughout his three indictments so far, Trump has verbally attacked prosecutors, judges, and even potential witnesses.
All comments have been made in regard to the actions which have landed him with several court appearances.
Donald Trump Is “Unique”
Trump’s own lawyers have acknowledged his unusual antics but do not seem overly concerned about how they may impact his defense.
John Lauro, an attorney representing the 77-year-old in the January 6 indictment, recently addressed his client’s behavior on a podcast with Florida lawyer David Markus.
“It’s a unique setting, because normally what we tell clients, of course, is, ‘Don’t say anything; don’t make any public comments,’” said Lauro.
“With President Trump, because of the campaign, and I would say because of his personality, it’s impossible for him not to speak out on the issues. So it does present unique circumstances. I think, in his mind, it’s sort of fair game from a political perspective to make these comments.”
It’s a justifiable viewpoint given Trump’s affirmation that the criminal investigations have been politically motivated, but one can only assume that Lauro’s life would be easier if his client were not Donald Trump.
The Legal Implications
To say Trump speaks his mind would be an understatement. When he’s at a rally, he often veers away from prepared statements, and uses his social media platform Truth to make unfiltered remarks on anything he wishes. As recently as last Friday, Trump wrote: “If you go after me, I’m coming after you!” despite a judge’s warning the previous day not to influence or intimidate witnesses.
It’s a habit which could land him in hot water, according to a legal expert.
“They may be able to use some of his statements against him. Given what the potential for him saying things is, it’s hard to imagine it’s going to do him any good in the trial. But I suspect that his lawyers have absolutely no control over what he’s saying,” said Alan Morrison, a law professor at George Washington University told The Hill.
Trump maintains that he is using his constitutional right to free speech; that said, freedom of speech does not come with freedom from consequences.
Shay Bottomley is a British journalist based in Canada. He has written for the Western Standard, Maidenhead Advertiser, Slough Express, Windsor Express, Berkshire Live and Southend Echo, and has covered notable events, including the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.