As former President Donald Trump’s legal difficulties continue to stack up, scheduling conflicts and trial delays offer relief and highlight an emerging path for him to enter the 2024 election without a conviction, should he be the Republican nominee.
Facing the strain of four separate criminal indictments while running a presidential campaign, Trump has sought to postpone trials in his cases until after the election. At least two judges — the one overseeing his Florida classified documents case and another overseeing his New York case for allegedly falsifying business records — have signaled a willingness to delay, while Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis believes the Georgia trial may not conclude until early 2025.
In Florida, District Judge Aileen Cannon has signaled a willingness to postpone Trump’s federal trial over alleged mishandling of classified documents. Though she decided to keep the May 2024 trial date in place for now, she set a March 1 scheduling conference to revisit Trump’s request to postpone it and has already delayed multiple pre-trial filing deadlines, saying that she “cannot ignore the realities of pretrial and trial schedules” in his other cases.
On Thursday, Cannon postponed one crucial deadline for Trump to submit notice about what classified information his legal team plans to use at trial. In an order, she said a deadline wouldn’t even be set until after the March scheduling conference, making the May trial increasingly unlikely.
The judge overseeing Trump’s Manhattan trial on charges of falsifying business records, currently scheduled for March 2024, may also postpone the trial. Juan Merchan sent a letter to Trump’s lawyers in September stating that he would wait until February to consider moving the date, according to The New York Times.
“We will have a much better sense at that time whether there are any actual conflicts and if so, what the best adjourn date might be for trial,” Merchan told Trump’s lawyers, per the outlet.
Trump was indicted in April on 34 counts stemming from his payment of hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels prior to the 2016 elections.
.@FaniforDA on the election interference case, “I think the case will be on appeals for years. But, I believe in that case, there will be a trial. I believe the trial will take many months. And I don’t expect that we will conclude until the winter or the very early part of 2025.” pic.twitter.com/gnydZPbmym
— Washington Post Live (@PostLive) November 14, 2023
Meanwhile, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis signaled this week that Trump’s trial for alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia may not conclude before early 2025.
“I believe the trial will take many months,” Willis said Tuesday during an interview at the Washington Post Live’s Global Women’s Summit. “And I don’t expect that we will conclude until the winter or the very early part of 2025.”
Trump’s 2020 election interference trial in Washington, D.C. is still scheduled to start on March 4, 2024 — the day before Super Tuesday. Trump was granted a small victory when Judge Tanya Chutkan allowed his legal team a few extra weeks to file motions related to subpoenas and discovery, though it was not as long as the extension his team requested.
Trump’s efforts to delay his trials have been opposed at every step by Special Counsel Jack Smith. After Trump asked to pause his 2020 election case in Washington, D.C., he told Cannon in a filing not to let herself “be manipulated” by his request to delay the Florida trial.
“As the Government argued to the Court yesterday, the trial date in the District of Columbia case should not be a determinative factor in the Court’s decision whether to modify the dates in this matter,” he wrote in a filing. “Defendant Trump’s actions in the hours following the hearing in this case illustrate the point and confirm his overriding interest in delaying both trials at any cost.”
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