Delay has been the favorite strategy of donald trump in court cases for much of his adult life, and he’ll likely follow the same playbook in fighting the latest criminal charges brought against him in Atlanta.
Over the course of more than four decades, Trump has been sued numerous times and has filed lawsuits of his own.
In recent years, it has also faced federal criminal investigations, congressional investigations, and two impeachment proceedings.
He now faces criminal charges in Fulton County, Georgia, where a grand jury indicted him and his allies for attempting to illegally overturn Georgia results in the 2020 presidential election.
Is his fourth indictment this year.
Trump has frequently used delaying tactics in legal matters arising from business disputes. Since he became a politician, he has repeatedly tried to slow the pace of litigation, in order to let the clock run down until larger events changed the playing field.
Legal experts say there are a number of motions that Trump’s lawyers can make to try to slow down or postpone the trial date in the Georgia case.
They could challenge the indictment itself, arguing, for example, that the grand jury that handed it down was not demogrhically representative of the county.
They could challenge the impartiality of the judge, or request a change of venue arguing that Trump cannot receive a fair trial in Fulton County, where he fared poorly in the election.
None of those motions are likely to succeed, but they can slow down the legal process while the court decides them.
In the Georgia case there are a total of 19 defendants, and trials with many defendants can be difficult to organize.
Fani Willis, the Fulton County district attorney, said late Monday that she intended to judge them all together.
Bringing a complex extortion case to trial can also be difficult, given the need to accommodate the schedules of large numbers of attorneys and their clients, the pretrial negotiations on plea and cooperation agreements, and the sheer volume of evidence that must be be disclosed to the defense before trial.
If a defendant change lawyers along the waythat alone can cause weeks late.
Hanging over the whole process, of course, is the 2024 presidential election and the possibility of Trump returning to office in January 2025.
A criminal trial of a sitting president would certainly give rise to disputes over whether it is permitted under the US Constitution.
Trump has a history of putting off his day in court for as long as possible.
One notable example occurred in a Manhattan district attorney investigation that led to filing charges of false business records about a hush money payment.
When prosecutors subpoenaed Trump’s accountants in 2019, seeking his tax returns and other records, he sued in federal court to block the demand for documents, a move that delayed the investigation for 18 months as the case reached the Supreme Court – twice. (Trump lost both times.)
Similarly, when Democrats seized control of the House of Representatives following the 2018 midterm elections, Trump vowed to block subpoenas from his oversight investigations, and once the issues reached the courts, he raised a series of of objections.
Disputes were time-consuming—in briefings, pleadings, and the time judges took to write their rulings—and when those decisions went against him, pealed again and restarted the process.
Thus, Trump won despite losing, preventing House Democrats from obtaining potentially damaging information – such as testimony from his former White House adviser about his efforts to obstruct the investigation on Russia– before the 2020 elections.
Trump has a long history of treating legal challenges as public relations problems.
He almost always goes on the offensive, publicly attacking the credibility of the witnesses against him, and often as well.to integrity of the judge who is handling the case and the motives of the prosecutors or the opposition lawyers.
He has called the New York and Atlanta indictments politically motivated attacks mounted by Democratic district attorneys.
While he was president, the court system repeatedly shielded him from legal entanglements because of a Justice Department policy that prohibits the impeachment of a sitting president.
c.2023 The New York Times Company