Jail: Only Donald Trump truly knows how concerned he is about the prospect of going to jail.
With three indictments in four months, the former president is facing more than 500 years’ imprisonment, along with some saying the death penalty is possible as part of the latest charges regarding the Capitol riots.
Of course, the likelihood of such a sentence is low; he’s already used at least $40 million of campaign funds to pay for legal fees, so his lawyers will argue to the very end to prove his innocence.
Despite his near silence in the courtroom, Trump has actively acknowledged the ongoing “witch hunt,” using it to bolster support.
It’s a tactic which seems to be working; when former congressman Will Hurd suggested Donald Trump was only running to stay out of jail at a Republican dinner in Iowa last week, he was booed out of the building.
The advantages of indictments for Donald Trump
Trump has repeatedly stated he is the target of a politically motivated criminal investigation.
The former president has even sent out fundraising emails acknowledging the legal troubles.
“If these illegal persecutions succeed, if they’re allowed to set fire to the law, then it will not stop with me. Their grip will close even tighter around YOU,” he said in an email to supporters.
Trump has pledged to continue campaigning behind bars if he must, promising to pardon himself from any prosecutions should he be elected president.
It’s this commitment to innocence which suggests confidence in a successful campaign. That said, one must assume he has at least some concern about what could happen if he is not president by January 20, 2025.
Although he is happy to slam the indictments in front of supporters, such comments are harder to make when your rallies are interrupted by courtroom obligations.
Next week, Trump has scheduled a rally for New Hampshire two days prior to a court hearing in Florida regarding further charges against him in the classified documents case.
Although he is not required to attend this hearing, he will be forced to sit through next year’s trials in-person.
Even with a private plane at hand, regular trips back and forth to New York, Florida and Washington will undoubtedly limit the campaign events he loves to hold in the months before the November election.
Moreover, despite strong support from those within his own party, Trump will face a harder challenge resonating with swing voters if his appearances in front of them are limited to courtroom coverage on TV, rather than their own eyes.
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.