Trump team previews multiple avenues to seek delay in March 2024 trial for Special Counsel Smith's 2020 election charges

 September 1, 2023

Former President Donald Trump, the clear frontrunner for the Republican nomination, is facing the likelihood of dealing with four separate criminal trials in the middle of his campaign to win the 2024 election cycle, including two prosecutions from Special Counsel Jack Smith, who ostensibly works for Trump's chief opponent, President Joe Biden.

Trump's legal team has already made it clear that they will seek to delay the start dates for some or all of those trials, and one of Trump's attorneys gave a bit of a preview this week of some of the legal angles they will pursue to achieve those desired delays, according to CNN.

The trial start delays have been deemed critically necessary by the Trump team given how the timing of those trials will undeniably and substantially interfere with his ability to mount an effective campaign for the presidency -- almost as if by design.

Federal judge sets March 4 trial date for post-2020 election prosecution

The Associated Press reported Monday that U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan set a trial start date of March 4, 2024, in the case of Special Counsel Smith's prosecution of former President Trump over his post-2020 election actions and efforts to challenge and reverse the disputed results in certain states.

That date was just two months after the January 2024 start date proposed by the special counsel but more than two years ahead of the April 2026 start date that Trump's defense team had requested.

Trump's team had argued that a delayed trial date was necessary to fully review the "gargantuan" mountain of more than 12 million pages of documents and records that the special counsel's team has said it will turn over as possible evidence during discovery, but the judge disagreed and insisted upon a swift trial while also flatly rejecting the argument that the start date would interfere with Trump's campaign to be re-elected.

Trials will interfere with Trump's 2024 campaign activities

Certainly, there is little doubt that the multiple criminal trials former President Trump faces in 2024 will have an impact on his ability to effectively campaign for the presidency, as evidenced by a timeline of events compiled by CBS News.

That March 4 trial date comes just one day before Super Tuesday, when 15 crucial states will hold their individual primary elections, and just three weeks before the March 25 trial start date for Trump's state-level prosecution at the hands of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg over alleged falsified business records in relation to "hush money" payments made to silence accusers during the 2016 election.

Trump is expected to be back in federal court on May 20 for another prosecution by Special Counsel Smith, this time over his alleged unlawful retention of government documents after leaving the White House in 2021. That trial will commence amid the tail-end of the GOP primary season, which will wrap up with final state elections just two weeks after that trial is set to begin.

Finally, there has yet to be a date set for Trump's state-level trial in Georgia, where he has been criminally charged by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis for his post-2020 election actions in that state that Willis had asserted was a massive and wide-ranging racketeering conspiracy.

Expected motions seeking delay

As for the federal trial set to begin on March 4, CNN reported that Trump's attorney John Lauro previewed during the Monday hearing four different avenues the former president's team will likely pursue in order to achieve a delay in that particular trial.

Primarily, that includes a claim of "executive immunity," in that Trump acted in his role as the president and is therefore immune from prosecution. Part and parcel with that is a claim that the court lacks "jurisdiction" to oversee what the defense asserts is a political dispute that constitutionally should be dealt with by Congress via the impeachment process or voters via the ballot box.

Another avenue that may be pursued is the claim that the special counsel is unconstitutionally prosecuting Trump for "core political speech" specifically protected by the First Amendment, which includes the right to publicly advocate a position and take actions to seek a redress of grievances.

Finally, Trump's defense team is expected to argue that the former president has been unfairly subjected to "selective prosecution" by his chief political rival, the current president, as a politically motivated "retaliatory action" for Trump's accusations that have spurred congressional and federal investigations into President Biden and his son Hunter.

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