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'Methodical' Trump Defense May Push Case Into Campaign Season

The judge in Donald Trump’s criminal case intends to move swiftly, but between the slow-moving New York court system and Trump’s tendency to push for delays, analysts expect the case to linger and collide with the 2024 presidential campaign. It will be many months before the former president, who is running for office again, is due back in court to face 34 counts of falsifying business records, the Washington Post reports. Trump’s lawyers have until August to file challenges to the case accusing him of hiding a payment to an adult-film actress before the 2016 presidential election to keep her quiet about a sexual relationship she says she had with Trump years earlier. Those filings may coincide with the first Republican debate of the primary season, which is scheduled for August. “It’s going to be a long time before anything happens,” said Trump lawyer Joe Tacopina. “We’re going to be methodical.”

Prosecutors floated a trial date in January, before the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses on Feb. 5. But Trump’s legal team suggested a spring 2024 date would be more “realistic.” By next spring, the Trump campaign could be dug in for a long delegate fight or, if the early states go its way, have already sewn up the nomination. Neal Katyal, a former acting solicitor general, said. “Here, delay allows him to fundraise off the indictment without having to face the day of reckoning in the legal system.” Also Wednesday, former vice president Mike Pence decided not to appeal a judge’s ruling that requires him to testify before a grand jury as part of the special counsel’s investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. In the Trump case, “What the DA has produced so far is slim,” said Richard Hasen, a UCLA law professor and election law expert, who was surprised that the indictment did not include a memo pointing to specific underlying statutes even if that step was not required under New York’s rules. “Given the attention everyone knew this case was going to garner, I was surprised,” he said. “It was quite vague. I take that as a sign of weakness, not strength.”


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