Trump criminal cases hit delays, disruptions that play into campaign strategy

Trump’s Legal Battles Face Delays and Disruptions, Aligning with Campaign Strategy

This past week, legal challenges involving Donald Trump encountered further delays in New York and Georgia. These developments inject more uncertainty into the legal issues surrounding the likely Republican candidate for president. Trump aims to delay these legal proceedings and cast doubt on their legitimacy.

In New York, a judge decided to postpone Trump’s criminal case, which had a set trial date, until at least mid-April. On the same day, the judge in charge of Trump’s election interference case in Atlanta pointed out a potential conflict of interest with the prosecution. The district attorney was allowed to continue on the condition that her lead lawyer step down. Shortly after, the lawyer resigned.

These events highlight the potential for Trump’s four criminal cases to remain unresolved. The charges against him include interfering with the 2020 election, conspiring to overturn its results, mishandling classified documents, and falsifying business records to hide hush money payments. Trump and his legal team are working to delay these cases while also undermining their credibility.

Republican strategist Scott Jennings noted that delaying these cases until after the election is crucial for Trump. He believes that the New York and Georgia cases have become difficult for Trump’s opponents to exploit politically.

Despite the charges, Trump’s campaign for reelection continues. His claims of being unfairly targeted resonate with many Republicans, helping him secure the nomination. However, the ongoing legal proceedings could limit his campaign activities, and a conviction might affect his standing with independents and some Republicans.

Legal experts and political strategists consider Trump’s federal cases to be more serious. Yet, it’s uncertain if they will proceed before the election. Delays in the New York trial might conflict with the scheduled start of Trump’s classified documents trial by federal prosecutors.

Steve Sadow, Trump’s lead defense counsel in Georgia, criticized the court for not fully considering the prosecution’s errors. He vowed to explore all legal avenues to conclude the case.

Former federal prosecutor John Fishwick sees any trial postponement as advantageous for the defense. If Trump is reelected, he could appoint an attorney general who might dismiss the federal indictments. State-level prosecutors would then face the unprecedented task of prosecuting a sitting president.

The New York case, accusing Trump of falsifying business records related to hush money payments to Stormy Daniels, is seen by Republicans as convoluted and politically motivated. The trial’s start was delayed to allow Trump’s lawyers more time to review newly released documents.

The trial is expected to last six to eight weeks, including jury selection. A mid-April start could overlap with another high-profile case overseen by the same judge. Further delays could conflict with the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee and the rescheduled start of Trump’s classified-documents trial in Florida.

Trump’s federal trial in D.C., regarding efforts to block President Biden’s 2020 election victory, is on hold while the Supreme Court considers his claim of presidential immunity.

The Supreme Court’s decision on this matter could determine the timing of the trial, possibly pushing it to September or October, close to the election.

GOP strategist Mike DuHaime believes delaying the trial benefits Trump, especially avoiding witness testimony about his actions around January 6th.

Pollster Whit Ayres notes the difficulty in predicting voter response to a Trump conviction. Some Republican primary voters might reconsider their support if Trump is convicted of a felony.

The Georgia case, involving state election obstruction, has no trial date yet and has been delayed due to concerns over prosecutorial misconduct. Trump criticizes the prosecutors at rallies, accusing them of political motives.

Trump argues that attending court trials hampers his campaign efforts, even as he makes court appearances and holds rallies.

As the cases progress, the pace of hearings and filings has increased significantly. A decision on Trump’s request to delay a civil judgment against him is expected soon. This judgment found him and his company guilty of inflating property values, with a payment deadline looming.

Contributions to this report were made by Devlin Barrett, Perry Stein, and Shayna Jacobs.