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Asher Notheis, Breaking News Reporter


NextImg:Trump wouldn't be the first person to run for president from prison

Former President Donald Trump faces the possibility of running for president in 2024 while serving prison time, though he would not be the first presidential candidate to do so.

Trump is facing a possible indictment from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, with the former president claiming that his arrest is imminent. And while Trump would be the first former president to face criminal proceedings, it's unlikely he would serve jail time. However, if he did, he would not be the first candidate to run a presidential campaign while in prison.

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In 1918, Eugene V. Debs was convicted of sedition for protesting US involvement in World War I and was sentenced to 10 years, though he was commuted to time served in 1921 by President Warren Harding. A year before, in the 1920 presidential election season, Debs launched a presidential campaign as a socialist candidate and earned almost 1 million votes while in prison.

Eugene V. Debs, member of the Socialist Party of the USA and presidential candidate, speaks to members of the worker's union on Aug. 17, 1912, at an unknown location in the USA. (AP Photo) --- Eugene V. Debs, Mitglied der Sozialistischen Partei der USA, haelt als Praesidentschaftskandidat vor der Arbeiter-Gewerkschaft eine Rede, aufgenommen am 17. August 1912. (AP Photo)


“Debs ran in 1920 with the idea that he knew he would never win, but to build and strength the Socialist party,” Debs biographer Nick Salvatore said.

While Debs is so far the only candidate to run a presidential campaign while in prison, former Rep. James Traficant (D-OH) had considered a possible presidential run for the 2004 election. Traficant had been expelled from the House in 2002 after being convicted in federal court of racketeering, bribery, and tax evasion and had attempted, but failed, to run for his seat in the house again while in prison.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

In facing a possible indictment, Trump has claimed the trial is politically motivated and founded on baseless claims. The former president has specifically hit out against Bragg, calling him a “degenerate psychopath” who “[truly] hates the USA.”

FILE - Former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event Monday, March 13, 2023, in Davenport, Iowa. Trump is holding the first rally of his 2024 campaign in Waco, Texas, as he faces the prospect of a possible indictment. Trump is gathering with supporters Saturday in a city made famous by deadly resistance against law enforcement ahead of the 30th anniversary of the Waco massacre. (AP Photo/Ron Johnson, File)


“What kind of person can charge another person, in this case a former President of the United States, who got more votes than any sitting President in history, and leading candidate (by far!) for the Republican Party nomination, with a Crime, when it is known by all that NO Crime has been committed, & also known that potential death & destruction in such a false charge could be catastrophic for our Country?” Trump wrote in a Truth Social post early Friday morning.