How can Donald Trump keep himself out of state prison in the Georgia RICO case? Only two moves are possible, and it is unclear if Trump's legal team is capable of executing either one, writes longtime Alabama attorney and criminal-defense expert Donald Watkins. Under the headline "Trump Must Turn Against His RICO Co-Defendants To Save Himself," Watkins writes:
With his losses mounting in the Georgia RICO case, Donald Trump has only two moves left to keep himself out of a Georgia state prison. These are the moves:
The “I Didn’t Know” Defense
First, Donald Trump must blame ALL of the acts that form the basis of the racketeering charge in his Georgia indictment on the overzealous and unauthorized conduct of crooked 2020 campaign operatives, misguided White House subordinates, and incompetent and deceitful private lawyers, all of whom were "rogue agents" and all of whom betrayed the trust and confidence Trump placed in them as key advisors.
This move is known as the “I didn’t know” defense. Trump must show that he trusted rogue agents who, without his knowledge or consent, organized and engaged in an unlawful criminal racketeering enterprise to keep him in power.
This is the only viable criminal defense available to Donald Trump in his RICO case. If and when this defense is executed to perfection by highly qualified and capable defense counsel, there is a high probability it will work.
Whether Trump is represented by highly qualified and capable defense counsel in any of his four criminal cases is an open question. While Trump has plenty of defense attorneys, he does NOT appear to have "effective assistance of counsel."
The "I didn't know " defense is not as simple as it might sound, but details about it are available to the public, writes Watkins:
The "I didn't know" defense is explained in a Texas A&M University, Texas Wesleyan Law Review article that was written in 2006 by a brilliant law student named Walter "Trey" Stock. The article is titled, “United States v. Scrushy and Its Impact on Criminal Prosecutions Under the Certification Requirements of Sarbanes-Oxley." Mr. Stock discusses this defense at pages 249-250 and 252-259. The article is published in 13 Tex. Wesleyan L. Rev. 239 (2006). Mr. Stock is now a state prosecutor in Texas.
To execute the "I didn't know" defense properly, Donald Trump must throw ALL of his RICO co-defendants under the bus. Trump also must effectively designate Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, Kenneth Chesebro, and Mark Meadows as the RICO conspiracy "kingpins."
Then, Trump must blame all of his conduct in the case on his misplaced trust in the "kingpins" to do the right thing in challenging the outcome of the 2020 election, including their proper supervision of the other indicted and unindicted co-conspirators in the case.
Will Trump throw all of his co-defendants under the bus? Yes. Trump has NEVER shown two-way loyalty to any wife, friend, acquaintance, co-worker, ally, subordinate, contractor, professional services provider, or political operative. In Trump's world, everybody is expendable.
What is the second move available to Trump? Well, that goes beyond the courtroom into the world of politics. Writes Watkins:
Second, Donald Trump MUST win the 2024 presidential election. This is a "do or die" situation for him. Losing the election is NOT an acceptable option for Trump.
Trump is already the presumptive GOP nominee for president. If Trump wins the election, he will surely exercise the awesome powers of the presidency in such a manner as to free himself from ALL federal and state charges and/or convictions. There will be no guardrails on Trump's exercise of power in this regard.
If Joe Biden is the Democratic nominee for president, Donald Trump will likely WIN the 2024 election in a landslide for the reasons articulated by author Andrew Sullivan in his insightful September 8, 2023 article, titled, “It’s Time for Biden to Leave the Stage.”
Sullivan says out loud what concerns many Americans today – Joe Biden is growing increasingly fragile and senile with each passing day and the public displays of his deteriorating physical and mental condition can no longer be explained away with credibility.
On multiple occasions, I have urged the Democratic Party to dump Joe Biden as its nominee for president. For reasons I cannot understand, the Party refuses to do so.
Despite his criminal defense team’s stunningly poor lawyering performance to date, Donald Trump still has the unique ability to free himself from all of his criminal charges.