‘Will Need A Lot More Than That Speech’: Jonathan Turley Lays Out Key Test That Will Make Or Break Trump Indictment

Screenshot/Fox News

Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
Font Size:

Fox News legal analyst Jonathan Turley laid out the challenges for special prosecutor Jack Smith’s potential indictment of former President Donald Trump Tuesday.

Trump announced Tuesday he received a letter from Smith Sunday. Trump stated he is a “TARGET of the January 6th Grand Jury Investigation, and giving me a very short 4 days to report to the Grand Jury, which almost always means an Arrest and Indictment.”

Fox News host Sandra Smith asked Turley if Trump has “a point about the timing of all this in that letter.”

“Prosecutors don’t always give a target ample time. They’re not very accommodating in that sense. Part of the reason is most targets will not go in front of a grand jury and neither will Trump. I mean it would be really looney to go in front of a grand jury,” Turley said.

“You’re not allowed counsel. You’re allowed to leave the grand jury and speak with counsel, but I’ve had clients go into grand juries, and even when you tell them ‘for God’s sake get up and talk to me if there is a question,’ they rarely do so because they are there in front of 23 people and they want to convince them of something. But most defendants do not go into a grand jury.” (RELATED: ‘You Can Clap’: ‘The View’ Co-Hosts Can’t Contain Excitement Over Possible Trump Indictment)

Smith then noted comments from presidential candidate Asa Hutchinson, who said Trump should suspend his presidential campaign in light of the potential indictment.

“There is no legal reason why he should. There might not be a political reason,” Turley said.

“Each of these indictments seems to give him a boost in the polls. This is fulfilling his narrative that there is a weaponization of the criminal justice system. That’s why this indictment, if there is one coming, could be so important. With Mar-a-Lago, those were classic types of charges, a classic built case. This one they have to really stick the landing so that no one will question it or few people will question it. That’s going to require some very direct and strong evidence. We haven’t seen that. So if Smith doesn’t have that type of evidence and he is moving forward largely on the speech, then I think he will fulfill the narrative of Donald Trump. He will be the federal version of Alvin Bragg in bringing that indictment.”

“Smith has a reputation of stretching the criminal code,” Turley continued. “Sometimes too far. This is not an occasion for that. If you are going to indict the former president over January 6th, you are going to need a lot of evidence showing that he was doing more than engaging in a political speech. In my view, what Donald Trump said … is entirely protected under a case called Brandenburg and the First Amendment. Smith is gonna need a lot more than that speech.”

Trump was recently indicted on 37 charges regarding his alleged mishandling of classified documents. Trump pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Trump was also indicted by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg in relation to his former attorney Michael Cohen, who allegedly paid $130,000 in hush money to former porn star Stormy Daniels.