Will Trump face consequences as he has been accused of witness tampering?
A seventh hearing of the January 6 commission occurred on Tuesday, July 12, 2022, where it was revealed that former President Donald Trump tried to contact a witness, committing an act of witness tampering.
As a party to a trial, you are generally prohibited from directly communicating with any witnesses, informants, or victims. Witness tampering occurs when someone attempts to cause a person to testify falsely, withhold testimony or information, or be absent from the proceeding to which the witness has been summoned. These rules are in place to protect those testifying from harassment or threats, as well as encourage the free flow of information in court.
The consequences of witness tampering depend on the seriousness of the criminal’s behavior. A person convicted of having a witness killed can be sentenced to life imprisonment. In contrast, a person convicted of harassing a witness into falsely testifying can face up to a year in prison.
At the very end of the hearing, during Rep Liz Cheney’s closing statement, she revealed that the former president tried to contact a committee witness.
“After our last hearing, President Trump tried to call a witness in one of our investigations,” Rep Liz Cheney, the vice chair of the committee said. “A witness you have not seen in these hearings. That person declined to answer or respond to President Trump’s call and instead alerted their lawyer to the call. Their lawyer alerted us. And this committee has supplied that information to the Department of Justice.”
The call came after the June hearing, where the committee said a prior witness had received calls from other Trump associates urging the witness “to be a team player” and “to do the right thing” before their deposition.
A spokesperson for Trump did not respond to requests for comment. The question is whether the committee would issue formal criminal referrals as this is the first time the committee explicitly flagged evidence for prosecutors that Trump may have potentially committed a crime.