The timeline of the Trump indictments is getting a bit messy now.
The latest is a ruling by Judge McAfee in the Georgia RICO case to give defendants an extension for pretrial motions.
Trump is one of 19 defendants in the Georgia RICO case.
A handful of defendants have already taken plea deals, which is not good news for Trump, as all of them have agreed to testify against other defendants as part of their deals.
Donald Trump is facing 13 charges in the case, which include unlawfully conspiring to change the outcome of an election while participating in a “criminal enterprise,” which is how Fulton County DA Fani Willis was able to introduce the RICO charges.
Trump has denied all charges filed against him.
From the outset, I have never been given the feeling by Judge McAfee that he believes the timeline set by Fani Willis will be able to be met, and this latest round of motions makes her date even less likely for the start of these trials.
Several defendants in the case have asked to have delays to pretrial motions while they await the outcome of their appear to have their cases moved to federal court.
The extension was granted by McAffee, moving the deadline from January 8 to February 5, 2024.
The three former Trump staffers hoping to move their cases to federal court are Mark Meadows, who served as Trump’s chief of staff, former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, and former Chairman of the state Republican Party David Shafer.
Meadows lost his initial case but has since filed an appeal, which will be heard on Friday. Shafer and Clark also lost their initial case, also having appealed the decision.
If Meadows loses his appeal, he could seek relief from the Supreme Court, but I think the court would unlikely accept the case, allowing the lower court ruling to stand.
Since McAfee granted the motion to extend the deadline, I would suspect that if Meadows loses and needs to back it up again, that will also be granted.
Initially, Willis was expected to ask to start her case in the spring, which would have piggybacked off one of the cases by Special Counsel Jack Smith, but she instead requested an August start date.
She was clearly anticipating some delays due to these appeals, but August may now be ambitious depending upon what happens in the Meadows case.
If the delays continue, this case could get backed up until after the election due to other cases that have already been scheduled.
I am still curious why Trump did not seek relief from the Fulton County courtroom, which would have offered him a friendlier jury pool as well as the case not being televised, but perhaps Trump’s legal team values TV coverage more than a friendly jury pool.
As I have stated in the other cases, I don’t expect Trump to fare well in the initial case, and believe his best chance for beating these cases will come via appeal and possibly through the Supreme Court.