Another Trump Trial Faces Delay

Another Trump Trial Faces Delay

Donald Trump’s New York hush money case — the only one of his four criminal cases that looked as if it would soon go to trial — suddenly faced the likelihood of delay on Thursday when a big batch of potential new evidence abruptly became available.

The news of the likely postponement arrived as the former president was in federal court in Florida for a separate hearing in a different case — the one in which he stands accused of mishandling classified documents, which even now has no solid start date. The judge there rejected one of a multitude of motions from Mr. Trump to dismiss the case.

On Friday, a judge in Georgia is expected to rule in yet another of the four cases on whether to disqualify the district attorney who charged Mr. Trump and a group of his allies with tampering with that state’s election results in 2020 — a decision that could be pivotal in determining whether the case goes to trial this year, or at all.

And in Washington, prosecutors and Mr. Trump’s lawyers are preparing for a showdown at the Supreme Court, which will hear arguments next month on his claim that he is immune from charges in the federal indictment that accuses him of plotting to overturn his 2020 election loss. That case was originally supposed to go in front of a jury this month.

The most recent complications make clear how the justice system is struggling to balance fairness and speed against the backdrop of a calendar shaped by the presidential campaign. All four cases in recent weeks have, in one way or another, become further mired in procedural or substantive issues that have resulted in delays.

The issue of timing is paramount in the Trump prosecutions. Mr. Trump, after all, is a unique defendant.

He secured enough delegates this week to assure that he will be the Republican nominee for a third straight election, and if he wins in November, he would be in a position to use the powers of his office to dispose of the charges he is facing or push back any trials until after he leaves office.

And if he does not go to trial in some or all of the four cases before voters go to the polls, Americans will be choosing their next leader without having had a chance to hear all the evidence or had a jury determine his innocence or guilt.

The hush money case, which was scheduled to begin on March 25, is just the latest case to face a delay. Thursday’s startling development occurred after the Manhattan district attorney’s office, which is handling the prosecution, suggested a postponement of up to 30 days in order to let the Trump team review a new batch of records.

The office of the district attorney, Alvin Bragg, has been trying to obtain the records from federal prosecutors in Manhattan from a separate investigation they had conducted several years ago into the hush money payments, but it only recently received them.

Mr. Trump, who has used any number of tactics to delay his legal proceedings, asked for a 90-day delay to review what has been revealed to be tens of thousands of pages of new material. It’s now up to the judge in the case, Acting State Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan, to decide what to do, although the fact that both sides in the case agree there should be some form of delay means it’s almost certain to happen.

Justice Merchan could give either side what it wants or pick a period of delay somewhere in between their requests. Either way, it would mean the trial would start at least a month after it was originally scheduled — possibly creating a cascading effect on the timing of the other trials in the heat of a presidential campaign unlike any other.

Any of Trump’s trials could continue through Election Day right up to the moment of his inauguration — and possibly after it as well. If Mr. Trump were to win the election, he would have the power on Jan. 20, 2025, to order his new attorney general to dismiss any federal charges he is facing and could seek to delay any state charges from moving forward in a couple of different ways. But none of that would happen automatically. It would require him or his lawyers to take action, and those actions could take a while before resulting in the cases’ being derailed.

Mr. Trump is at the center of at least four separate criminal investigations, at both the state and federal levels, into matters related to his business and political careers. Here is where each case currently stands.

Judge Aileen Cannon of United States District Court for Southern Florida has yet to rule on when she intends to start the classified documents trial. The judge held a hearing two weeks ago to pick a start date, but she has not yet issued her decision.

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