February 14, 2021
Donald Trump's Purported 'Secret Pardon' Wouldn't Work On State Crimes, Ex-Prosecutor Says

Although Donald Trump is rumored to have granted himself a covert pocket pardon, it wouldn't save him from all legal trouble, according to a new report by Raw Story.

Chuck Rosenberg, the former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, noted that such clemency would not apply to state crimes from the multiple local investigations into the former president and his business dealings.

"By the way, it would not protect him against any case brought by a state prosecutor. So we talked earlier about Georgia or the state of New York. Even if there was a pocket or secret pardon, it would not preclude charges by state officials," he said.

As reported by NPR, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. is allegedly broadening his probe into Trump to examine possible financial crimes. In addition, Georgia prosecutors are examining alleged election interference linked to Trump's call with Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who he pressured to overturn the results of the state's election in his favor.

Elsewhere, Rosenberg argued that secret pardons are allowed by the U.S. Constitution.

"The Constitution doesn't preclude a secret pardon. The Constitution doesn't require a written pardon. The Constitution's limits on pardons are only two: that it be for a federal offense and that it not be in cases of impeachment -- that's it, that's all the Constitution tells us about limitations on pardons."
Still, Former Acting Solicitor General and MSNBC analyst Neal Katyal said secret pardons are "constitutionally dubious," and Jeffrey Crouch, an assistant professor of American politics at American University, argued they would not work, as the real estate mogul cannot be the only one to know about purported crimes he forgives himself for.

Notably, Vance is examining Trump and his family for possible tax, insurance, or bank fraud linked to their businesses. The possible felonies linked to the probe could lead to significant prison time. As for the Georgia investigation headed by Fulton County District Attorney Fani T. Willis, one possible felony is "criminal solicitation to commit election fraud," which is punishable by at least one year in prison.

U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump walk along the South Lawn to Marine One as they depart from the White House for a weekend trip to Mar-a-Lago on January 31, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Getty Images | Sarah Silbiger

Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen was the first to float the idea of secret pocket pardons. As The Inquisitr reported, Cohen said the Constitution does not prohibit covert pardons and suggested Trump has some for himself, his children, and for his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. He predicted that if and when they face federal criminal charges in the future, he will use the pardons to forgive himself and his circle for their crimes.