Georgia’s Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis doesn’t believe that her RICO case against Donald Trump, Mark Meadows, Giuliani, et. al. will be complete before the election. One factor could include the fact that Mark Meadows just filed for a two-month discovery extension.
Given the amount of evidence and the number of defendants, it was always somewhat dubious that they could complete the trial prior to the first week of November 2024. Indeed, it might be best if we all agree to be happy if it even starts prior to the election.
After all, Judge Scott McAfee has to schedule the matter factoring in Trump’s other cases.
Right now it seems as though the Washington DC case in front of Judge Chutkan is the case most likely to have reached a verdict before the election.
If Trump is found guilty, it is likely — due to his status — that he’ll be allowed to remain free on appeal. Of course, that decision is Chutkan’s alone.
For her part, Willis made the remarks during a discussion in The Washington Post’s Women’s Summit. The Post reports that the announcement will likely upset Donald Trump.
“Willis’s comments are likely to draw criticism from Trump, who has accused her and other prosecutors of attempting to disrupt his 2024 bid for the presidency. While Willis pointedly declined to comment on Trump and any of his co-defendants specifically, she said the election calendar plays no role in her decisions about any of the cases that her office pursues.”
Well, criminal defendants always have their lives interrupted by their trial. Trump better not win in 2024, or one can envision him trying to go scorched earth if he’s president while on trial for RICO violations.
Willis demonstrated her steady hand by addressing the issue straight on:
“I don’t, when making decisions about cases to bring, consider any election cycle or an election season. That does not go into the calculus. What goes into the calculus is: This is the law. These are the facts. And the facts show you violated the law. Then charges are brought.”
District Attorney Willis was likely furious when she made her presentation due to yesterday’s leak of the Jenna Ellis videoyesterday. Her office filed for a protective order today to ensure it doesn’t happen again or at least help deter someone from doing something similar.
In other Georgia RICO news, Defendant Mark Meadows — who is reported to have some kind of immunity deal with Special Counsel Jack Smith — has asked Judge McAfee for a two-month delay in discovery production, according to The Messenger’s report:
The four-page motion from Meadows asks Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee to shift the deadlines for discovery production in his case from this Dec. 4 until Feb. 5, 2024, and for any pretrial motions from Jan. 8 of next year until March 4.
You can read the motion itself here.
Meadows’s attorneys made a compelling argument, quoting the motion itself, stating that they need the time because they are appealing the issue of removing the case to federal court:
“The request for a relatively brief extension is made in an effort to prevent Mr. Meadows from having to litigate the same case simultaneously in two separate courts while the Eleventh Circuit decides on an expedited schedule, the removal action.”
Judges are often extremely cautious about denying relatively reasonable requests for delays. One always risks being reversed on appeal if the defendant can show that the delay was absolutely necessary to reasonably prepare.
Again, the hope should be that the trial at least starts before the election.
This column is based largely on original reporting by Holly Bailey and Amy Gardner of The Washington Post.
Editor’s note: This is an opinion column that solely reflects the opinions of the author
Jason Miciak is an associate editor and opinion writer for Occupy Democrats. He's a Canadian-American who grew up in the Pacific Northwest. He is a trained attorney, but for the last five years, he's devoted his time to writing political news and analysis. He enjoys life on the Gulf Coast as a single dad to a 15-year-old daughter. Hobbies include flower pots, cooking, and doing what his daughter tells him they're doing. Sign up to get all of my posts by email right here: