Aug 14, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Trump's potential Georgia trial could be first one televised

Donald Trump speaks as the keynote speaker at the 56th Annual Silver Elephant Dinner

Donald Trump speaks at a dinner hosted by the South Carolina Republican Party on Aug. 5. Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

For those hoping to watch any of the historic legal proceedings against former President Trump on live television, the only option might be a potential case in Georgia.

Why it matters: If Trump is charged as part of the state-level election interference probe, the public could hear and see evidence against him — intensifying potential political repercussions for the GOP presidential frontrunner.

State of play: Georgia law requires that cameras be allowed during judicial proceedings with a judge's approval. Cameras are seen as an important aspect of transparency.

  • A judge would need a compelling reason — such as a juvenile victim or witness — to bar them, per Atlanta News First. Neither are likely to apply.
  • Under Georgia's rules, the public could be able to watch Trump's potential arraignment — as well as an entire potential criminal trial, per NBC News.
  • That's not been the case in federal and New York courts, where Trump's other indictments have taken place.

Context: Although a handful of photos have flurried around Trump's court appearances so far, no video has been allowed inside the court rooms.

  • Trump has pleaded not guilty to state charges in a hush-money case in New York as well as federal charges in a classified documents case and a separate election conspiracy case.

The big picture: Trump already faces a busy courtroom calendar during an election year and has already made his legal peril a centerpiece of his campaign.

Of note: Despite mounting legal woes, Trump continues to dominate the polls.

  • His campaign reported $35 million in donations in the second quarter of 2023, nearly double what it raked in during the first quarter.
  • The public's attention to his legal drama has also declined with each subsequent indictment.

Zoom out: Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis' investigation of the 2020 election has spanned two years and has involved testimony from dozens of witnesses.

  • Willis, who has kept her plans quiet, has said charging decisions over the county's 2020 election probe could come by September.

Go deeper: Why Georgia's case against Trump could be so damaging

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