Can Donald Trump delay the trials after the 2024 election? Why he’s trying to ‘slow things down’

WASHINGTON — So which comes first: a Donald Trump criminal trial or Election Day?

Right now, many legal analysts believe Trump will face at least a jury of his peers ahead of the Nov. 5, 2024, general election — but perhaps not before Republican primary voters decide who gets their party’s presidential nomination. , a prize that could be claimed as early as March.

Either way, Trump and his lawyers began the deferral strategy by asking a federal judge to postpone — indefinitely — a federal obstruction of justice lawsuit involving classified documents.

Trump’s legal team said one of the following reasons: the presidential election.

In this courtroom sketch, attorney Todd Blanche stands as he pleads not guilty on behalf of former President Donald Trump, second from right, in federal court in June in Miami.

In this courtroom sketch, attorney Todd Blanche stands as he pleads not guilty on behalf of former President Donald Trump, second from right, in federal court in June in Miami.

“This endeavor requires an enormous amount of time and energy, and this effort will continue until the election on November 5, 2024,” Trump’s lawyers said in a motion.

Expect similar arguments in the future from Trump, who will also face trial in New York state next year over silent payments.

The former president may also be considering two other lawsuits related to efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss to President Joe Biden. He may also seek to delay the January civil trial of writer E. Jean Carroll, who alleged Trump sexually assaulted her in the 1990s.

“Spirit of the Game”

Trump and his legal team may file a flurry of pretrial motions and appeals of pretrial rulings, attorneys said, all designed to delay actual trial dates that would feature Trump sitting in court rather than speaking. during the election campaign.

“There’s going to be a lot of play,” said Ty Cobb, defense attorney and former White House special adviser to Trump. “There is plenty of room for malice.”

Whether Trump can delay things after the general election remains to be seen.

Cobb said pre-trial maneuvering “will definitely slow things down,” but “doesn’t necessarily have to slow things down in perpetuity.”

Election interference?

Lawyers and aides for other candidates have long assumed Trump would try to use his campaign as a shield for his legal troubles, and hope his election — or the election of another Republican — would lead to the dismissal of the lawsuits against him. .

Trump and his lawyers have not publicly discussed their strategy; they called the investigations politically motivated and said they should all be shut down.

“This is planned election interference of the highest magnitude,” Trump shared on Truth Social on Wednesday.

First test: the case of documents

Trump’s delay strategy gets its first test in Florida, site of the classified documents trial.

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee who originally scheduled the documents to go to trial for mid-August, is considering Trump’s request to delay it indefinitely.

The Justice Department proposed a trial in December, saying it needed time to determine what kinds of classified information can and should be released in open court.

In their filing, Trump’s lawyers said December did not give them “adequate time” to prepare. They added that “President Trump is a candidate for President of the United States and is currently the Republican Party’s likely nominee.”

Indeed, according to polls, the indictments have fueled a rise in support for Trump among Republican voters, though independent voters are more skeptical of his candidacy.

A trial in New York in March?

The New York State trial involving silent money is scheduled for the end of March. Trump noted that the expected start date is “right in the middle of the primary season,” though who the nominee will be may well be decided by then.

The GOP nomination process begins Jan. 15 with the Iowa caucuses. The next month and a half includes primaries in New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.

A series of “Super Tuesday” primaries in more than a dozen states are scheduled for March 5. That could leave a Republican nominee with an insurmountable lead among convention delegates.

It also creates the prospect of an alleged candidate sitting in a criminal courtroom and facing conviction and jail time.

Trump will likely request a postponement of the New York trial when the time comes. He consistently challenged the authority of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and Judge Juan Merchan and claimed they had no right to pursue the case against him.

In late March this year, a New York grand jury indicted Trump with falsifying business records to conceal silent money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels. The indictment said Trump bought her silence on their relationship just before the 2016 election, so the payments constituted illegal campaign expenses.

Trump pleaded innocent and denounced the New York lawsuit as politically motivated.

Trump-Carroll: Civil Action

Trump also faces a possible civil trial in January, although he is not required to attend in person.

Carroll, who won a $5million judgment against Trump after a jury in May found him liable for sexual abuse and defamation, has a second libel suit for verbal attacks he committed during his years as president.

The trial is currently scheduled for Jan. 15 — the same day as the Iowa caucuses.

Trump may also seek to delay that proceeding, in part over questions about his legal representation. The Justice Department reversed its previous position and said it would not defend Trump in the case because the comments in question did not involve his duties as president.

Trump did not attend the first civil trial with Carroll and likely would not have to attend a second.

Two other tests

Beyond the hidden money and classified documents, Trump faces the possibility of indictments in Atlanta and Washington, DC.

Both cases involve efforts to undo Trump’s loss of the 2020 election to Biden. The Atlanta investigation covers actions in Georgia, while a separate federal investigation focuses on Trump-inspired activity in several states.

Both could be messy cases, with pretrial disputes that could put off trials for months.

Some legal analysts have said Trump has a limited ability to delay trials for long periods. They also said voters have a right to know Trump’s legal status before deciding whether or not to support him.

“At a minimum, cases should go to trial before the Republican convention,” said Norman Eisen, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who has conducted legal analyzes of the Trump investigations.

The GOP convention in Milwaukee is scheduled for July 15-18, 2024.

Bradley P. Moss, a national security attorney, said he expects Trump “to do everything possible to avoid trial before the election,” especially in cases that could imply a prison sentence.

Total success, he says, is unlikely.

“Mr. Trump will absolutely be judged in one form or another during the campaign,” Moss said.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Why Trump wants Aileen Cannon to delay the trial until after the 2024 election

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