TTU criminal law expert explains what’s next after Trump indictment

Donald Trump is the first president, former or sitting, to be criminally indicted.
Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 5:44 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 31, 2023 at 6:30 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Donald Trump is the first president, former or sitting, to be criminally indicted.

A New York grand jury voted to indict Trump on Mar. 30. With the indictment sealed, it is unclear exactly what charges former President Trump is facing, but Geoffrey Corn, the Chair of Criminal Law at Texas Tech University School of Law, explained what the legal process is and how it will proceed.

“What happens next is that he will be booked on the offense and then he will be brought before a judge for an arraignment,” Corn said.

It will be during that arraignment that we learn what Trump is charged with.

”When we see that, then there are going to be so many challenges related to this case, it is almost incomprehensible,” Corn said.

At that point, Trump will enter a plea of guilt or innocence. After that, it is out of Trump’s hands.

“If the judge thinks that the evidence doesn’t prove a crime or can’t prove a crime, he will dismiss the charges. On the other hand, if the judge concludes that the information the grand jury considered does indicate that there was a crime committed, he will bind the charge over for trial,” Corn said.

Even if the case does go to trial, it could be quite some time before Trump faces a jury.

“I think that there will be a lot of pretrial motion activities for obvious reasons because of the unprecedented nature of the accusations,” Corn said.

Corn believes that Trump’s defense team will push for a speedy trial, hoping to catch the prosecution off guard.

”The prosecutor better be ready to go to trial. I mean, if you pursue an indictment against a defendant like this and you are not ready to go to trial, there is another tactic that the defense can use,” said Corn.

Beyond that, we can expect to see a motion for a change of venue.

”It is going to be a challenge for whatever judge presides on this case to find 12 and a couple of alternates that say they can judge the defendant solely on the fact and the law as they are instructed,” Corn said.

Former President Donald Trump is expected to face a judge for his arraignment on Tuesday.