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A look at Trump's legal troubles on the evening that he's set to turn himself in

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Former President Trump said he will turn himself in at 7:30 p.m. Eastern this evening at the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta. Trump will be booked and have his photo taken and then leave the facility. He faces 13 felony counts in Georgia related to efforts to overturn the result of the 2020 presidential election. This is, of course, Trump's fourth indictment since the spring. And joining us now to talk about Trump's legal troubles is NPR justice correspondent Carrie Johnson. Hey, Carrie.

CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: Hey there.

CHANG: OK. So what's different to you, Carrie, about this case in Georgia compared to the other three cases that Trump's been indicted in?

JOHNSON: This Georgia case is certainly bigger. There are 19 defendants in all. It's also more sprawling in terms of the racketeering charge that Trump and others face and the actions that are outlined and the geography because these charges mention not just activity in Georgia, but also some other swing states in 2020, including things like that fake elector scheme, the alleged pressuring of Georgia Secretary of State Raffensperger and former Vice President Mike Pence, allegations of tampering with voting machines in another part of Georgia and then, of course, intimidating the election worker Ruby Freeman, who testified she had threats against her life.

CHANG: OK. Well, with respect to the two federal cases against Trump, led by special counsel Jack Smith, what is the status of those two cases at this point?

JOHNSON: Sure. The first case centers around war plans and other secrets the FBI found at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort. There, Trump is charged with retaining defense information and obstruction of justice for refusing to return papers that belong to the government. He now has two co-defendants in that case, his body man, Walt Nauta, and a Mar-a-Lago facilities manager named Carlos de Oliveira. A third man, an IT worker, changed his story to prosecutors after he got a new lawyer, an independent attorney with no financial ties to Donald Trump. That man told prosecutors Trump and the others allegedly tried to get him to destroy security footage. He's going to be a likely witness at the trial next year. And then also, the second case relates to Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election in Washington, D.C.

CHANG: Right.

JOHNSON: In that case, Trump wants a trial in 2026. Prosecutors say no way. They want to be ready in January 2024. And there's going to be a hearing here in D.C. on Monday where the judge is going to set a trial date.

CHANG: OK. So during this process, I mean, the former president has certainly tested the tolerance of the judiciary and maybe even of his own lawyers. I'm thinking here of Trump's social media posts in this instance. How is that spilling over into the courtroom so far?

JOHNSON: The judge in Washington, D.C., Tanya Chutkan, has already warned Donald Trump's lawyers some of his First Amendment rights need to yield to restrictions that come with being a criminal defendant in any case. She says that means not intimidating witnesses like Mike Pence and not tainting the jury pool. She says she's going to move up the trial date in D.C. if Trump keeps posting inflammatory language. And in Georgia, Trump's conditions of release are even tighter when it comes to talking outside of court. This could be a real test of the legal system since Donald Trump may keep posting and talking on the campaign trail, no matter what these courts are telling him.

CHANG: That's right. Well, now one of the people indicted along with Trump in the Georgia case is former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. I know that Meadows is asking to get his case moved to federal court. Let me ask you, what difference would that make? And could Trump do something similar?

JOHNSON: There's a hearing early next week in federal court in Georgia over Mark Meadows' bid to move his case into federal court. The district attorney in Fulton County, Fani Willis, says it's not - Meadows' actions in this case were not part of his job in the government at the time. Trump may well try to move his case to federal court, too. The jury pool may be more friendly to Donald Trump in federal court. But we're going to have to see what that court decides next week.

CHANG: That is NPR's Carrie Johnson. Thank you, Carrie.

JOHNSON: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Carrie Johnson is a justice correspondent for the Washington Desk.
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