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How Trump Team Can Slow-Walk Case For More Than A Year

Southern Florida's federal courts boast of being a "rocket docket" for their speedy trials, but former President Trump's legal team is likely to unleash a flurry of motions and challenges to delay his criminal trial there. The moves could push the trial back, a few months at a time, as Trump's team challenges how prosecutors gathered evidence in the classified documents case, former Trump lawyer Tim Parlatore tells Axios. "I wouldn't foresee this thing getting tried within a year,” said Parlatore, who left Trump’s team last month. After a trial, the appeals will go all the way to the top. He says, “If there's ever a case that you know from the inception that it's going to go all the way to the Supreme Court this is it." He adds, "I can foresee some fairly substantive motions to dismiss" the case. "I could also see them going through several discovery motions, and there will be fights over disclosure. I think each round of motions is going to take three months."

Discovery allows lawyers to go through evidence from both sides, and sometimes there are disputes about which documents each side must disclose. The process can significantly lengthen a case if there are voluminous records. Trump's team has many incentives to slow-walk the trial. If he were to win the presidency in November 2024, he could have a chance to install sympathetic Justice Department officials before the trial is completed or try to pardon himself if he's convicted. Parlatore believes Trump's team may challenge the process in which prosecutors obtained a search warrant for Mar-a-Lago last year. “The unredacted version of the search warrant application, I think that will cause some issues,” he said. Many damaging details in the indictment were from notes that Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran took. Those notes were obtained through the crime-fraud exception that allows prosecutors to pierce attorney-client privilege. A federal judge said the government had met that standard, but Trump’s team could contest that decision. Also, departed Trump lawyer James Trusty said “we’re going to want some discovery” into prosecutors’ text messages and emails regarding a meeting that led a lawyer for Trump’s valet to accuse prosecutor Jay Bratt of improperly bringing up the lawyer's application for a judgeship.


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