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All four of Trump's criminal cases reach inflection points this week

All four of Trump's criminal cases reach inflection points this week

 


In its case in Washington, D.C., the Supreme Court could indicate whether it will quickly respond to Trump's claim that he is immune from federal charges stemming from his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

In his case in Georgia, where Trump also faces state charges related to the 2020 election, a judge scheduled a hearing for Thursday to examine efforts by Trump and several co-defendants to disqualify prosecutors.

And in his Florida case, a judge is weighing Trump's latest request to postpone key deadlines, a likely precursor to the May 20 trial delay on charges of hoarding classified files at his Mar-a-Lago home.

Here's a look at each of the cases and what to expect this week:

Immunity bid lands at SCOTUS

Trump's first order of business this week was to ask the Supreme Court's nine justices to block a lower court ruling that he is not immune from criminal charges brought in Washington, D.C., by special counsel Jack Smith.

Trump's formal request, which he filed Monday afternoon, requires that at least five judges agree to stay the earlier ruling so that Trump can continue to avoid trial on federal election subversion charges. Although Smith is sure to resist a stay altogether, what is more important is what the court signals next whether it will address and resolve the immunity issue in an expedited manner or whether it will allow him to linger before the courts until the fall.

A ruling in favor of the latter would effectively doom Smith's efforts to bring Trump to justice in 2024.

The high court could also reject the stay or simply refuse to consider Trump's appeal, which would send the case back to U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan for a possible trial in the spring. Although that outcome is considered less likely, any decision by the justices will help crystallize the schedule for Trump's trials in Washington.

The Supreme Court's involvement also comes as the justices consider a separate Trump issue that is not directly related to any of his four criminal cases: the constitutional question of whether states can deem him an insurrectionist and him prohibit voting. The high court heard arguments on this issue last week, and at least eight of the nine justices appeared likely to side with Trump.

Trump faces Judge Cannon

On Monday morning, the former president made an unexpected visit to the small courthouse in Fort Pierce, Fla., where U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon is handling Smith's other criminal case: one claiming Trump covered up tons of classified documents in his Mar-a. -Lago Estate and later resisted efforts by federal investigators to recover them.

It was the first time Trump had come face to face with either judge in his federal cases, although the interaction between Trump and his appointed judge on Monday took place out of public view because the hearing, which involved classified evidence, was closed to the public and the press. The face-to-face time is notable in part because it comes as Cannon appears to be weighing heavily on his request to postpone the trial indefinitely.

Smith's team has expressed growing frustration with Cannon, releasing documents that at times betray exasperation with his decisions and tendency to endorse some of Trump's representations of facts, which they say present a distorted version of events.

Willis must be held accountable

No trial date has yet been set for Trump in Fulton County, Georgia, where he was charged, alongside 18 co-defendants, with conspiring to corrupt the results of the state's 2020 election. District Attorney Fani Willis requested an August start date, but she has spent the last month fending off allegations of unethical conduct by Trump and several of his co-defendants.

The allegations center on a romantic relationship between Willis and a special prosecutor, Nathan Wade, whom Willis hired to help him handle the case on a contractual basis. The defendants allege that Willis and Wade improperly benefited from the lawsuits by using income Wade earned from his contract to take vacations together.

Judge Scott McAfee scheduled a hearing for Thursday to review the allegations, and he suggested Monday that if the defendants could prove key aspects of their allegations, prosecutors could be removed from the case.

Set a date in New York

After months of relative silence, the first criminal case filed against Trump, charged under New York state law, with falsifying business records to conceal payments to women claiming he had extramarital affairs with them, is expected to be back in court on Thursday.

At the hearing, Judge Juan Merchan is expected to rule on a series of motions filed by Trump last year challenging various aspects of the charge against him, including one in which Trump claimed the case harmed the President Trump and the public by interfering with his presidential campaign. .

Unless Trump succeeds in getting the entire indictment dismissed, the judge is also expected to indicate whether he expects the trial in this case to proceed as scheduled on March 25 or at a later date later. If the trial date remains unchanged, the judge and lawyers for Trump and the Manhattan District Attorney's Office could discuss some procedural aspects of the trial, such as juror safety concerns.

Merchan could also reveal whether he has had discussions about scheduling with the judges assigned to Trump's other three criminal cases. Chutkan, the judge in the Trump case in Washington, noted that she and Merchan had been in contact shortly after Trump was indicted in Washington to avoid overlapping trial schedules.

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