Of course, much about Trump’s case is unique. Never has a former president faced federal or state prosecution. That fact alone probably makes priority for the federal prosecution more likely.
An active presidential candidate has faced criminal charges in the past, though.
Socialist Party nominee Eugene Debs was prosecuted and convicted under the Espionage Act for his opposition to World War I in 1918. He campaigned from prison for the 1920 election, before losing to Republican Warren G. Harding.
Federal authorities could assert priority over state officials by taking custody of the defendant. States cannot arrest suspects who are outside the state’s borders, but federal law enforcement officers can arrest suspects anywhere in the country.
It is exceedingly unlikely that federal prosecutors would ask a court to detain Trump in jail before trial. Rather, they are likely to allow him to be released on bail as the New York court did in April. But their nationwide jurisdiction gives federal authorities an advantage over states in controlling the defendant, in terms of placing and enforcing bail conditions, for example, regardless of where he resides at the moment.
This article is republished from The Conversation, an independent nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts. The Conversation is trustworthy news from experts, from an independent nonprofit. Try our free newsletters.
Trump indictment won’t keep him from presidential race, but will make his reelection bid much harder
Prosecuting a president is divisive and sometimes destabilizing – here’s why many countries do it anyway
Darryl K. Brown does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.