Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Friday that former President Donald Trump “should serve time” if he is convicted on federal charges brought by special counsel Jack Smith’s Jan. 6 probe.
Gonzales, who served under former President George W. Bush, made that comment during an interview on MSNBC.
“If in fact he’s convicted of the crimes charged by Jack Smith and the Department of Justice, yeah, I think he should serve time, quite frankly,” he told host Jen Psaki, a former Biden White House press secretary.
“There are people that on Jan. 6, went to the Capitol — maybe not at the clear direction of President Trump — but certainly, he did nothing to stop what happened that day,” the former Justice Department chief continued. “They’re serving time.”
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Gonzales said it would be “fair” for Trump to go to prison too if he is convicted of the crimes he has been charged of. However, he cautioned that “we’re a long way there.”
Trump, the 2024 GOP front-runner, is charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding and conspiracy against rights.
If convicted, Trump faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the two charges related to obstructing an official proceeding. He could see an additional maximum sentence of 10 years for the conspiracy against rights charge and a maximum five-year sentence for conspiracy to defraud the United States.
Trump pleaded not guilty to these charges earlier this month at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
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The indictment comes out of Smith’s investigation into whether Trump or other officials and entities interfered with the peaceful transfer of power following the 2020 presidential election, including the certification of the Electoral College vote on Jan. 6, 2021.
Judge Tanya Chutkan, who has presided over several January 6 cases and has a notorious reputation for being harsh on Capitol riot defendants, is overseeing Trump’s case.
The Justice Department recommended in court filings that Trump’s trial should start on Jan. 2, 2024.
However, Trump’s attorneys want a trial date of April 2026. They argued that the years-long delay is necessary both because of the unprecedented nature of the case and the “massive” amount of information — 11.5 million pages — that they have to review. They said they would have to review about 100,000 pages per day in order to meet the Justice Department’s proposed trial date.
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Chutkan is expected to set a tentative trial date during an Aug. 28 court hearing.
Trump and 18 others were charged in Fulton County, Georgia earlier this week related to efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in that state. Fulton County District Attorney Fani WIllis has proposed a March 4 trial date, which would take place on the eve of Super Tuesday when the most delegates are at stake in the primary contest to decide the next Republican presidential nominee.
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The former president will also be in court on March 25 for a New York state case related to alleged hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels.
Additionally, a federal judge in Florida has set a May 20 trial date on charges that Trump illegally hoarded classified documents and concealed them from investigators.
Fox News’ Brooke Singman, Houston Keene, Jake Gibson, Bradford Betz and The Associated Press contributed to this report.