Let’s face it, former President Donald Trump has been known to try and pull a few fast ones in the courtrooms, but this time, it seems he’s bitten off more than he can chew. Special counsel Jack Smith, DOJ’s ace prosecutor, dropped a proverbial legal bomb on Trump’s attempts to indefinitely postpone his upcoming trial for improperly keeping hold of government documents after leaving office. In typical Trump fashion, he thought he could wiggle his way out, but Smith is making it clear that the game’s up.
In a move that surprised nobody, Trump’s legal squad had appealed to Judge Aileen Cannon (a Trump appointee no less) to indefinitely delay the trial, insisting a December trial date was unfairly rushed. His lawyers made a series of claims, suggesting a nefarious political agenda behind the 37 charges, interference with Trump’s possible 2024 campaign, and even argued that their client was too busy dealing with other legal matters. Apparently, their ideal solution was to just put the trial on hold indefinitely, a move that could see the charges dismissed if Trump manages to win the 2024 race and reshuffle the DOJ to his liking.
But Smith and the DOJ aren’t having any of it. They shut down Trump’s argument, saying there’s no factual or legal basis for such a drawn-out postponement. Trump’s lawyers, they assert, have got it entirely twisted; a swift trial is a constitutional right and societal necessity, not just a preference of the government.
Smith and the DOJ are also championing the public’s interests. After all, we all have a stake in ensuring justice is served swiftly. Trump’s argument that he can’t get a fair trial? The DOJ is not buying that either. They argue that it’s not only possible to find an impartial jury but also that these conditions won’t change post-election.
Trump’s legal team also seems to be making some confusing claims about the Presidential Records Act, implying that it gave him permission to take those classified records from the White House. Spoiler alert: it does no such thing. The DOJ made this clear, stating the act does not cover the retention of national security information.
Adding insult to injury, Trump’s legal team also stands accused by the DOJ of incompetence. In order for the trial to be fair, the DOJ has to share evidence with Trump’s lawyers. But that requires the lawyers to obtain interim security clearances. As of now, only two of Trump’s legal team have completed this process.
And so, the legal wrestling match continues. The DOJ’s takedown of Trump’s delay tactics has been applauded by several legal experts, including former Justice Department lawyer Glenn Kirschner. Kirschner calls the DOJ’s response a “model of clarity, of brevity, of persuasion.”
No one said it better: Justice delayed is justice denied. This saga is far from over, but one thing’s clear: Trump’s delay tactics have served a hearty slice of reality.