Given all the legal delay tactics available to him, Is it even possible at this point for there to be a verdict in any of Donald Trump's criminal trials before November 5th, Election Day, in 2024? A former federal prosecutor joins us to discuss that very thing on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]
BUT FIRST, there was quite a bit of other news today, some of which is somewhat related...
- Short-lived former Republican U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced he is quitting Congress at the end of this month. The GOP's thinnest of House majorities will become even thinner until California holds a Special Election next year to fill the seat, likely not before next June. That means Republicans will have just two votes to spare on any legislation, including on whether to prevent the Government from shutting down in mid-January. (Happy New Year!)
- The U.S. Dept. of Justice unsealed war crimes charges against four Russian soldiers accused of torturing an American in 2022 following their ongoing invasion of Ukraine. It is the first time such charges have been filed under a 30-year-old statute. Nonetheless, Congressional Republicans --- even after the news of atrocities committed against Americans and Ukrainians alike --- continue to oppose additional military aid to help our sovereign ally defend democracy itself in Europe against the imperialistic assault of its fascist Russian neighbor.
- The ten fake 2020 Trump electors in Wisconsin have settled a lawsuit filed against them by two official Biden electors. All ten Republicans, some of them top state GOP officials, have agreed to withdraw their false election filings, acknowledge Joe Biden won the 2020 election, share all related communications, and never serve as a Presidential Elector again in any election where Trump is on the ballot. Exchanges disclosed between several of them reveal that they knew what they were doing was wrong and an attempt to "possibly steal" the election. The exchanges also reveal that WI's U.S. Senator Ron Johnson advocated for the state Legislator to to steal the election for Trump.
- The six fake 2020 Trump electors in Nevada were criminally indicted today by the state's new Democratic Attorney General Aaron Ford. They all face penalties ranging from one to five years in prison for each of the various charges. This crew of miscreants also includes top Republican state officials, such as state GOP Chair Michael McDonald, Clark County GOP Jesse Law, and Jim Hindle, the man who runs elections in Storey County! Those degenerates join others in both Michigan and Georgia who have already been charged for their parts in attempting to steal the 2020 election for Trump. That, in a state where a new law adopted by the Democratic-run legislature to specifically criminalize future fake electors was vetoed by the state's new Republican Governor Joe Lombardo earlier this year.
THEN, we're joined by RANDALL D. ELIASON, the former chief of the fraud and public corruption section at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. He now teaches criminal law at George Washington University Law School, contributes to the New York Times and elsewhere, and blogs at his own site, Sidebarsblog.com.
Last week, Eliason penned an op-ed for the Times, calling for a "Rocket Docket" for Donald Trump's criminal charges, particularly related to his federal indictment in D.C. related to his attempt to steal the 2020 election. Eliason argues that the American people, to paraphrase Nixon, "have got to know whether or not their (former) President is a crook" before they may have to decide whether to vote for him next year. In fact, he argues, they have a right to know that.
But with all of the pre-trial motions available to the former President, in all four of the criminal trials he is currently scheduled to face next year, is it even be possible for there to be a verdict at the trial level in any of those cases before Election Day, after which, if Trump wins, he'll be able to make most, if not all of the charges disappear?
Eliason argues yes, particularly in the federal trial in D.C., currently overseen by U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan, as scheduled to begin on March 4 (the day before Super Tuesday). But, he notes at the Times, "whether it happens will be decided by a relative handful of federal jurists --- including a number appointed by Mr. Trump himself."
Nonetheless, Eliason maintains today that a court schedule to keep that trial on track for a verdict before Election Day next year --- and even before Republicans must finalize their 2024 Presidential nomination at their convention next Summer --- is still totally possible. What the courts need to do, he tells me, "is pretty simple. They need to put these [pre-trial] motions on a fast track...They can do that when they want to. They have done it in the past. They just have to have the will to do it. Same with the Supreme Court."
We discuss a number of historic cases --- Watergate, the 2000 election, even cases from 2020 and several of Trump's current cases --- where even the Supremes were able to act with alacrity. "Bush v. Gore they decided in one day," notes Eliason, "so they can move quickly when they want to. But that's really what it all comes down to now."
So, will they? And, if they do, will Trump be able to argue that he did not receive a fair trial in the bargain because they were rushed? And, is there any indication to date that the appellate courts, including SCOTUS, also appreciate the importance of ensuring a conviction or an acquittal before Election Day next year?
We discuss all of that and much more with Eliason on today's program...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)