Chris Christie predicts an indictment for Trump before 2024 primary

“I think the most likely place it will happen is New York,” the former New Jersey governor said in an interview

Published March 1, 2023 4:55PM (EST)

Former Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie. (WADE VANDERVORT/AFP via Getty Images)
Former Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie. (WADE VANDERVORT/AFP via Getty Images)

Former Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie believes former President Donald Trump will be indicted in at least one of the several open investigations into him prior to the 2024 primaries. 

The Republican lawmaker joined Hugh Hewitt for an interview on Wednesday, and said he doesn't believe the former president's legal team will be able to dismiss the case against him in Georgia over the jury foreperson's conduct.

However, he also added that he has "a hard time believing" that Trump will be indicted for trying to pressure Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to find more votes to swing the state in his favor during the 2020 election. 

"This is a very difficult case to make off the phone call," Christie began. "Now I don't know what their other evidence is. That's supposed to be the beauty of the grand jury system. And it is so far in this case that you don't know what all the specific other evidence may be. But based upon what I know publicly, I think it's a tough case to bring against the former president based upon the information we now know."

The conversation then shifted to the topic of Special Counsel Jack Smith, with Christie claiming that Trump would remain legally vulnerable for his part in the Capitol riots and obstruction of Congress. 

He also predicted that neither Trump nor President Joe Biden will be prosecuted for keeping classified documents at their private properties. 

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When asked whether Trump would be indicted before the 2024 primary debates, Christie answered that it will happen, and while he doesn't know how badly these legal troubles will affect the former president, he did say Trump's campaigning will backfire.

"I think the most likely place it will happen is New York," Christie predicted. "And I think it's the least harmful matter to him. If in fact all they're looking at is the Stormy Daniels payments, I think that Letitia James has made it clear that she's a political prosecutor, and that what she wants to do, and that she promised during the campaign, that she was going to go get Donald Trump. And I think she probably will." 

"But I don't think that would do much harm to him," he continued. "So I think in terms of the likelihood of indictment, I'd put New York first, the special counsel second, Georgia third. But in terms of the seriousness of the peril for the president, I'd put the Special Counsel above either of those."

Hewitt then asked Christie if he expects an indictment by July, to which he responded: "I expect that New York probably would act. I don't know whether the special counsel will act by that time, but my guess is that New York would act by that time."

"Can someone run for office and do debates and give interviews when they're under indictment and not make their situation worse?" Hewitt asked.

Christie responded that it would be "impossible for them not to make the situation worse" but that "given the limited nature of the New York case, I don't know that he's going to be getting a whole lot of questions about the Stormy Daniels situation anyway." 

"I think it seems to me a pretty cut and dry situation. And I don't know that he'd make his situation markedly worse," he explained. "But every time you open your mouth, as you know in this kind of situation, you run the real risk of it adding complications to a case where you could lose your liberty."

"That's why defense lawyers always rightfully tell their clients to keep quiet, because you don't need to make that situation more complicated," Christie concluded. "Because your liberty is at stake."

By Samaa Khullar

Samaa Khullar is a former news fellow at Salon with a background in Middle Eastern history and politics. She is a graduate of New York University's Arthur L. Carter Journalism institute and is pursuing investigative reporting.

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2024 Election Chris Christie Donald Trump Indictment Jack Smith Letitia James New Jersey Primaries Republican