Prospects Dwindling of Trump Trials Starting Before Election: Attorney

Developments in the Georgia appeals process and Florida documents case have made delays even more likely.

Prosecutors were able to secure a guilty verdict against former President Donald Trump in New York but it’s unclear how successful the other three criminal cases against President Trump will be.

As they’ve proceeded in pre-trial stages, delays have continued to mount and the prospects of starting before the election have become small to nonexistent.

That became especially evident on June 5 when the Georgia Court of Appeals ordered a stay on all proceedings in the racketeering case against President Trump in the state.

Attorneys had already speculated to The Epoch Times that the case wouldn’t start until after the election.

The appellate hearing won’t even take place until October, according to a decision from the appeals court on June 4.

“With 15 defendants still left in the case, it was always a pipe dream that the Georgia RICO case was going to get tried before the November election,” John Malcolm, vice president of conservative think tank Heritage Foundation, told The Epoch Times.

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“With the Court of Appeals scheduling oral argument for Oct. 4 and putting the rest of the proceedings on hold, it is now certain that the case will not go to trial before the election.”

In that case, a three-judge panel will hear oral argument over Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee’s decision to allow the prosecutor, District Attorney Fani Willis, to stay on the case.

Judge McAfee allowed Ms. Willis to remain if one of her prosecutors and former lover, Nathan Wade, resigned, which he did.

Ashleigh Merchant, a defense attorney who brought the motion to disqualify Ms. Willis, said there was “no chance for trial before the election,” USA Today reported.

Delays in Florida

The judge and the prosecutor in President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago case have faced intense criticism and clashed during pre-trial proceedings.

While some critics see Special Counsel Jack Smith as bringing bogus prosecutions, others have accused U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon of imposing unnecessary delays on the case.

“There are many legal and evidentiary issues still left to consider that make it doubtful that the case will go to trial before the election,” Mr. Malcolm told The Epoch Times.

“Significantly, Judge Cannon has scheduled oral arguments for June 21st at which time she will consider whether Jack Smith’s appointment as Special Counsel violated the Appointments Clause (Article II, Section 2, Clause 2) of the Constitution, which will, in turn, determine whether he can continue to pursue this matter at all.”

Some of the scrutiny surrounding Mr. Smith has focused on the argument that his appointment wasn’t legal in the first place. On June 5, Judge Cannon scheduled briefings on that issue and others while pushing back a three-day hearing originally scheduled this month to hash out discovery issues that have dominated litigation since the indictment.

On June 21, the parties will argue on President Trump’s motion to dismiss the indictment based on the unlawful appointment of the special counsel.

As the judge previously indicated, amici including experts who advanced this legal theory would be allowed to participate in the hearing.
On June 4, she issued an order allowing three attorneys—representing two groups supporting and one opposing the motion—to each make 30-minute arguments.

On May 7, Judge Aileen Cannon, who serves on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, indefinitely prolonged the pre-trial process.

It was initially scheduled for May 20 but, according to Judge Cannon, more time was needed to address pre-trial motions.

The order posited that the court was being prudent by taking additional time to consider the motions.

She cited “eight substantive pretrial motions” and said: “The court … determines that finalization of a trial date at this juncture—before resolution of the myriad and interconnected pre-trial and CIPA [Classified Information Procedures Act] issues remaining and forthcoming—would be imprudent and inconsistent with the court’s duty to fully and fairly consider the various pending pre-trial motions before the court.”

Criticisms of Cannon

Her more recent decisions came as a former Trump White House attorney, Ty Cobb, and former Miami-Dade County Court Judge Jeff Swartz called out the pace by which Judge Cannon was proceeding.

Mr. Cobb also said on CNN that it was “ludicrous” for Judge Cannon to deny Mr. Smith’s request for a gag order in that case.

Judge Cannon had denied Mr. Smith’s request for a gag order on procedural grounds, however on June 24, the parties will be debating a resubmitted request by Mr. Smith to effectively impose a gag order through President Trump’s conditions of release.

(Left) U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon. (Right) Special counsel Jack Smith. (U.S. Southern District of Florida; Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)
(Left) U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon. (Right) Special counsel Jack Smith. (U.S. Southern District of Florida; Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

President Trump has already encountered multiple gag orders in other cases, raising questions about his First Amendment rights during a presidential election.

The issue prompted an interlocutory appeal in Washington, where an appeals court pared down a lower court’s decision to restrict President Trump’s speech.

Judge Swartz told CNN on June 5: “I can come up with no other reason than she is purposefully avoiding ruling on certain matters and doing the best she can to delay the trial of this case as long as she possibly can.”

He added that if she were ignorant, lazy, or just trying to delay the case, she didn’t belong on the bench. Judge Cannon is a Trump appointee and former federal prosecutor who took her judgeship in the Southern District of Florida in 2020.

Smith’s Requests

Besides Mr. Smith’s appointment, the funding of his office has also come under scrutiny following the Supreme Court’s decision in Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) v. Community Financial Services Association of America.

In that case, the nation’s highest court said the CFPB’s controversial funding mechanism, whereby the director requested a specific amount from the Federal Reserve, was constitutional under the Appropriations Clause.

The parties have a June 11 deadline to brief the court on how the CFPB ruling impacts their positions in this case.

Judge Cannon scheduled a new hearing for June 24 for parties to argue the funding issue.

This case—along with the ones in New York and Georgia—raise the prospect of Supreme Court involvement.

The Supreme Court hasn’t yet released its decision in Trump v. United States where it’s expected to refine the scope of presidential immunity that will likely prolong lower court proceedings in his Washington case.

The ruling on immunity could affect how the Georgia and Florida trials proceed. A complicated trail of litigation could follow as attorneys may appeal how lower courts interpret the Supreme Court’s ruling.

“The Supreme Court could remand the immunity case with very little, if any, instruction, let the district court come up with its opinion, and then let the appellate court deal with it again,” John Shu, a constitutional law expert who served in both Bush administrations, told The Epoch Times.

Catherine Yang contributed to this report.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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