One of the defense tactics of former President Donald Trump consists of putting sticks in the wheel to delay the processes. The former president’s lawyers have taken out the manual and, arguing the complexity of the case, have requested that the federal trial for the attempt to subvert the result of the 2020 presidential election be held in April 2026, a year and a half after the next presidential elections in which he aspires to return to the White House.
US Attorney Jack Smith had proposed the first week of January next year as the date to start jury selection and start the trial. In this case, which was the third indictment for the former president (the fourth came this week, for electoral interference in the state of Georgia), the prosecutor made reference to six other conspirators, but led the accusation only with Trump in an apparent attempt to expedite the process.
In his charge sheet, the prosecutor accuses Trump of four crimes: witness tampering, conspiracy to defraud the US government, conspiracy to obstruct an official procedure, obstruction or attempted obstruction of an official procedure, and conspiracy to violate civil rights. Trump maintains that the election was stolen, but the prosecutor does not accuse him for that great unsubstantiated hoax, but for the acts he undertook to alter the result and prevent Joe Biden’s victory proclamation.
It will be Judge Tanya Chutkan who has to decide the calendar, once the allegations of the two parties have been analyzed. Trump’s lawyers have some compelling argument for rejecting as quick an opening of the oral trial as the one proposed by the prosecutor. In the letter in which they request the appointment for 2026, they underline the complexity of the case and the enormous volume of documents in the summary, to which they still do not have access.
As they point out, the case materials occupy 8.5 terabytes of information and total 11.5 million pages. Stacked up, they argue, they would be like a 5,000-foot-tall paper tower. They even include in the letter a graph that shows that the height would be more than 15 times that of the Statue of Liberty in New York and more than 8 times the obelisk of the Washington Monument, the tallest building in the federal capital.
The lawyers add that they had been downloading the documentation for two days since they received the link and had not finished. “Even assuming we could start reviewing the documents today, we would have to proceed at a rate of 99,762 pages per day to finish (…) on the proposed jury selection date. That is the entirety of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, from beginning to end, 78 times a day, every day, from now until jury selection.
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To the printed text, the letter adds, it would still be necessary to add “audio recordings, image files from telephones and electronic devices, and other materials that will require an exhaustive and laborious review.”
The lawyers argue that it is customary to establish a trial schedule proportional to the size and scope of the proceedings and the complexity of the case. And they denounce: “The Government rejects this sensible approach. Instead, it seeks a faster trial schedule than most undocumented misdemeanors, asking for just four months from the start of discovery to jury selection. The government’s goal is clear: to deny President Trump and his attorney the ability to prepare for trial.”
Instead, Trump’s lawyers propose a detailed schedule of more than two and a half years of procedural steps in which there is no incidence in the final stretch of the 2024 presidential election campaign. That alternative schedule would lead to a trial in April 2026.
Curiously, the lawyers also argue how busy the former president’s agenda is with his multiple accusations and lawsuits to defend his calendar against the one proposed by the prosecutor. The former president’s lawyers review their legal fronts. First up are two civil cases: one in New York state court, scheduled for a six-week trial beginning October 2, 2023, and another in the Southern District of New York, scheduled for a two-week trial beginning October 2, 2023. on January 15, 2024.
Next, would come the trial for commercial falsehoods for payments to hide scandals (one of them an extramarital affair with the porn actress Stormy Daniels) in the 2016 presidential campaign. It is the first criminal case for which he was charged, and is scheduled before a New York State court, for a 5-week trial beginning March 25, 2024.
In this hypothetical calendar, the criminal case would later arrive in the Georgia state court for trying to alter the 2020 electoral result there. It is the case for which he has been charged this week, for which the prosecutor has requested a trial on the 4th March 2024 (although the date has not yet been set by the judge).
And there is also the criminal case for crimes against the law of espionage and obstruction of justice for illegally keeping classified material in his possession after his departure from the White House. The judge for the Southern District of Florida has scheduled that case for a 5-week trial beginning May 20, 2024.
The political calendar is added to the judicial calendar, to which Trump’s lawyers do not refer. In it, the primary elections of the Republican Party begin on January 15 and will last throughout the first semester until the July party convention that will choose the candidate. The presidential elections are on November 5 and the inauguration of the winner on January 20, 2025. If, despite everything, Trump were elected, he could deactivate the case or pardon himself.
Threats to members of the grand jury who indicted Trump in Georgia
Fulton County police are investigating threats that have been made on social media against the grand jury members who approved to indict Trump for trying to rig the election result in Georgia. Unlike other states, in Georgia the names of the members of the grand jury appear in the statement of charges, made public this Monday.
On social networks, not only the names but also photographs and addresses of the members of the grand jury have been shared and threats have been launched against some of them. The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office has indicated through a statement that its investigators are working closely with local, state and federal law enforcement to trace the origin of threats in Fulton County and other jurisdictions. “We take this matter very seriously and are coordinating with our security forces to quickly respond to any credible threat and ensure the safety of people who have fulfilled their civic duty,” it says.
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