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That’s how Trump will try to delay his trial in Washington for election meddling, scheduled for March

That’s how Trump will try to delay his trial in Washington for election meddling, scheduled for March

(CNN) — Former President Donald Trump’s lawyers say they are trying a variety of legal maneuvers to defeat special counsel Jack Smith’s federal election interference case.

Whether the moves will delay the March 2024 deadline set by District Judge Tanya Sudkan for the trial will largely depend on the magistrate’s ability to continue pre-trial proceedings. So far, Sudcon has shown a very no-nonsense approach to planning and has little patience for unnecessary delays.

At a hearing Monday in federal court in Washington, Trump’s lawyer, John Lauro, offered few details about the challenges in Smith’s case, which has four charges stemming from alleged plots to overturn Trump’s 2020 election loss. Thinking about the former president’s legal team. He did so while telling the judge that the “legal complexity” of the case required a lengthy trial.

(Sudkhan’s trial date, March 4, is two months after Smith’s office sought it, but well ahead of the April 2026 trial Trump has sought.)

In addition to the individual cases brought by Lauro, Trump has the larger question of whether his claims should be dismissed in pre-trial proceedings before Sutkan, which could convince higher courts to intervene before the case goes to trial. Investigation.

Legal questions about the way a trial was conducted, including whether certain charges should have been dismissed or whether certain evidence should not have been presented to the jury, are usually reviewed by appellate courts after the trial. Guilty verdict. But sometimes defendants can successfully file what’s called a writ of reconsideration, meaning an appeal before the trial is over.

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The standards for appeals for reinstatement are “demanding,” said CNN legal analyst Eli Honig, a former federal prosecutor.

“It’s very difficult to successfully file a reversal and appeal before a judgment is entered, and even if you do, it doesn’t necessarily put all trial preparation on hold,” Honig said.

Trump is innocent.

Administrative immunity

In many of the lawsuits he faces, Trump has argued that he should be immune from prosecution because his actions fall within his duties as president. The January 6 federal criminal case is no exception to that pattern.

At Monday’s hearing, Lauro said “executive immunity” would be an “initial” issue raised by Trump’s lawyers, possibly this week or next.

He also argued that the court lacked “jurisdiction” over the case, which could be a sign that they would argue impeachment is a political issue that should be resolved through congressional recall powers or caskets.

“Impeachment essentially impeaches President Trump for being President Trump and for faithfully executing the laws and his duties of care,” Lauro argued, referring to the constitutional provision that requires “the president to see that the laws are faithfully executed.”

“So we’re going to have a very, very unique and comprehensive movement to deal with executive immunity,” Lauro said.

According to University of Baltimore law professor Kim Wehle, unlike legislators’ protections under the Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause, presidential immunity is a “soft and discretionary” matter not expressly stated in the Constitution.

The question, he said, is “will this impeachment, if it continues, prevent future presidents from doing their jobs.”

Sudcon, and the judges who will consider the issue if it is appealed, must find a fine line between protecting presidential discretion and, at the same time, not giving presidents a license to engage in criminal activity.

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His immunity theory has already been rejected by a district court in the civil lawsuit Trump faces against the capital attack on January 6, 2021, while an appeals court ruling on the case could come at any time.

Fundamental Issues of the First Amendment

Shortly after the indictment was unsealed, Trump’s lawyers, and Lauro in particular, were aggressive, saying in their presentations to the media that the lawyers wanted to criminalize Trump’s free speech.

Lauro called Smith’s conduct targeting Trump’s protests over the 2020 election results “basic political speech” protected by the Constitution.

“When it comes to political speech, you can’t just defend a position, but you can take action, you can petition, you can ask your vice president to stop voting for a term,” Lauro told CNN’s Dana Bash. Earlier this month.

At Monday’s hearing, Lauro told the judge that there were “fundamental First Amendment issues” and that they would prosecute the case.

The First Amendment argument against the lawsuit has received some support from some segments of the conservative public. But other free-speech experts have said the alleged illegal conduct may go beyond the limits of the Constitution’s protections.

Former Trump Attorney General Bill Barr told CNN’s Caitlin Collins, “Freedom of speech does not entitle you to participate in a fraudulent conspiracy.”

Alleged “selective litigation”.

Lauro said on Monday that it was necessary to extend the pre-trial period to prosecute whether Trump was an elected criminal.

“Given the fact that this case gives an advantage to the leader of these prosecutors, who is running a political campaign against President Trump that the world knows, we also anticipate a motion for selective impeachment,” Lauro told the court.

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He said Trump’s proposals come as “retaliation” against the former president’s criticism of incumbent Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden (no evidence of that finding has been made public).

Honig said it is “extraordinarily rare” for a defendant to prevail in a selective prosecution case.
Often the defendant must show that no one has been prosecuted in similar circumstances.

“The difficulty with this is that no one is really in a similar situation,” Trump said, Honig said.