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CORRECTION: Smith’s Charges Against Trump Do Not Include Potential Death Penalty If He’s Convicted

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Editor’s note: The original version of this story incorrectly stated that charges against Trump include the potential for the death penalty. A fact check from USA Today determined that “The special counsel’s office overseeing the prosecution told USA TODAY the claim is false, explaining that Trump’s case does not meet the requirements for capital punishment. Legal experts agreed the claim is not valid and pointed out the death penalty is rare, even in applicable cases.” Smith’s office also said the claim that the death penalty is on the table in Trump’s case is false. We have updated our story and headlines.

A number of serious felonies, including one for which the death penalty may be imposed, are included in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s indictment of former President Donald Trump on Tuesday for his part in the effort to challenge the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.

Breitbart’s Joel Pollak explained in a report that 18 U.S.C § 241, “Conspiracy Against Rights,” includes a penalty of up to 10 years in federal prison.

If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same; or

If two or more persons go in disguise on the highway, or on the premises of another, with intent to prevent or hinder his free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege so secured—

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They shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, they shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.

As detailed by Pollak in his report, below are a few other alleged crimes in the January 6 indictment against Trump that could include possible lengthy prison terms and penalties:

18 U.S.C. § 371 – Conspiracy to Defraud the United States – the maximum penalty is five years in prison, though penalties can be less if the conspiracy is to commit a misdemeanor; in that case, the punishment cannot be greater than the greatest for that crime.

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18 U.S.C. § 1512 (k) – Conspiracy to Obstruct an Official Proceeding – this statute, crafted originally to punish witness tampering, has a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison for anyone who “obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding.”

18 U.S.C. § 1512 (c) – Obstruction of and Attempt to Obstruct an Official Proceeding – this likewise carries up to 20 years in prison.

Pollak wrote in his report: “If Trump is convicted of all four charges, and receives the maximum non-lethal penalty, he could be imprisoned for 55 years, if the sentences are set to run consecutively. That, in addition to the possible 460 years in prison in the “documents” case that Smith is prosecuting in federal court in Miami, brings Trump’s maximum federal prison term to 515 years, over half a millennium.”

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It was revealed on Tuesday that Trump had been indicted again by Smith stemming from his investigation into the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol Building.

According to Fox News, “This is the second federal indictment the former president faces out of Smith’s investigation. Trump, who leads the 2024 GOP presidential primary field, has already pleaded not guilty to 37 counts related to his alleged improper retention of classified records from his presidency.”

Trump faces several charges in that probe, including willful retention of national defense information, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and false statements. Additionally, he was indicted on three additional counts as part of a superseding indictment issued in connection with the same investigation last week.

This is the second time in U.S. history that a former president has faced charges in a federal criminal probe.

“This is nothing more than the latest corrupt chapter in the continued pathetic attempt by the Biden Crime Family and their weaponized Department of Justice to interfere with the 2024 Presidential Election, in which President Trump is the undisputed frontrunner, and leading by substantial margins,” a Trump campaign spokesperson told Fox News Digital.

“President Trump has always followed the law and the Constitution, with advice from many highly accomplished attorneys,” the spokesperson continued. “These un-American witch hunts will fail and President Trump will be re-elected to the White House so he can save our Country from the abuse, incompetence, and corruption that is running through the veins of our Country at levels never seen before.”

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