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Here’s how Trump will try to avoid jail
The most likely strategy, but it will not succeed
THE KEY DATE TO KEEP IN MIND is January 20, 2025. Trump’s main legal defense will be to stall the start of any trial until after that date.
He’ll argue that it is impossible for him to get a fair trial as the leading Republican candidate for president.
If U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan rejects Trump’s motion to delay, his lawyers will appeal her decision to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. If the D.C. Court of Appeals rejects the motion, he’ll appeal to the Supreme Court.
Given the makeup of the current Supreme Court, a majority of the justices are likely to go along with Trump’s argument and stay the commencement of the case until the next president is sworn in. (They will not recuse themselves.)
If the trial nonetheless commences before January 20, 2025, Trump will try to slow it down with procedural motions, which, if denied by Judge Chutkan, will then be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court.
The point of both strategies will be to enable Trump to center his 2024 campaign on his alleged persecution by the “Deep State.”
As he wrote to his supporters on Tuesday night, “If these illegal persecutions succeed, if they’re allowed to set fire to the law, then it will not stop with me. Their grip will close even tighter around YOU. It’s not just my freedom on the line, but yours as well — and I will NEVER let them take it from you.”
If he wins the election, he’ll be able to end the case with either a pliable new attorney general or a self-pardon. (In the unlikely event that one of his rivals for the GOP nomination is elected, they — including Ron DeSantis — have already promised to pardon him.)
If Trump loses the election, he’ll have put Joe Biden under enormous pressure to pardon him, in order to “heal” the nation. Anyone remember Gerald Ford?
Again, this strategy strikes me as the most likely one Trump will follow. I don’t believe it will succeed.
What do you think?