Trump's Death Penalty Demand Could 'Haunt Prosecutors'

President has tweeted twice now about Sayfullo Saipov's legal case
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 2, 2017 8:03 AM CDT
Trump's Death Penalty Demand Could 'Haunt Prosecutors'
This undated photo provided by St. Charles County Department of Corrections via KMOV shows the Sayfullo Saipov.   (St. Charles County Department of Corrections/KMOV via AP)

President Trump sent out a midnight tweet calling for the New York City truck suspect to face the death penalty, and he doubled down Thursday morning. "Should move fast. DEATH PENALTY!" he wrote. Trump added that while he'd like to see Sayfullo Saipov sent to Guantanamo Bay, it might be more efficient and more fitting to keep "him in the home of the horrible crime he committed." But could the presidential tweets actually help Saipov's defense? The New York Times reports that Trump's public push for the death penalty could "haunt prosecutors," because Saipov's legal team could argue that it's now impossible to get a fair trial.

The Washington Post has a similar take, observing that Trump's tweet "deviated from an unwritten rule that presidents shouldn’t express themselves on the outcome of pending criminal cases." The story notes that another Trump sentiment is factoring into the case of Bowe Bergdahl, now awaiting sentencing for abandoning his military post in Afghanistan. Trump as a candidate called Bergdahl a "traitor," and while the presiding judge rejected a request to dismiss the case, he said he would take Trump's statements into account when doling out Bergdahl's sentence. (More New York City terror attack stories.)

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