Trump defense team likely to employ variety of delay tactics to push 'hush money' trial into election year

April 2, 2023
Ben Marquis

Media reports indicate that former President Donald Trump will likely face an arraignment hearing on Tuesday in New York City, during which the criminal indictment issued Thursday by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's empaneled grand jury will finally be unsealed.

The case is unlikely to be resolved any time soon, however, likely due in large part to an assortment of delay tactics that Trump's team of defense attorneys will employ at any given opportunity, the Washington Examiner reported.

That legal strategy of incessant delay favored by Trump and his attorneys -- used to varying effect over the years, though typically against civil instead of criminal proceedings -- is likely intended in this case to try and push the proceedings as far into 2024 or beyond as possible, when his potential status as the GOP presidential candidate, president-elect, or even the actual president again could complicate and even further delay an eventual resolution.

"Delay, delay, delay, delay"

Politico reported that Catherine Christian, a defense attorney who previously worked for 30 years in the Manhattan district attorney's office, said of Trump's defense team, "If they’re doing their job, they’re going to do everything they can to delay, delay, delay, delay," and further noted, "Every single motion they can think of. That’s what they’re going to file."

The outlet listed some of the time-consuming motions that Trump's attorneys could file, likely as soon as the arraignment hearing, that would almost certainly start with a motion to dismiss for various reasons, including on statute of limitations grounds for the alleged crimes that are purported to have occurred six or seven years ago.

Other motions that could be filed to further stall progress could include a change of venue request to move the trial out of New York City, a request to transfer the case from state to federal court, a request to disqualify the judge or prosecutors for certain reasons, or even extended negotiations over the extensive security protocols that will be necessary for the historically unprecedented nature of a criminal trial involving a former president.

Another possible delay tactic could be a request to dig into the grand jury proceedings and potentially expose things like a lack of probable cause or insufficient evidence to support the charges, as well as the possibility of improper procedures by the judge or grand jurors or obvious displays of partisan bias against the defendant.

Judge has already seen Trump team's tactics

Ironically enough, Politico also reported that while Trump's team will likely make use of such delay tactics to stretch things out, they could also simultaneously complain about delays that have stemmed from the prosecution and how those delays in bringing charges have harmed his civil right to due process under the New York Constitution.

That said, the judge who will preside over this case, Juan Merchan, is the same judge that oversaw the recent criminal prosecution of the Trump Organization that took around 16 months from indictment to conclusion and ultimately resulted in 17 felony convictions and a $1.6 million fine for the company.

What that means is that Judge Merchan is likely already well aware of and familiar with the delay tactics strategically employed by Trump's legal team and, therefore, may be less inclined to grant the requests that will inevitably prolong the trial proceedings.

Trump's attorney says "zero" chance a plea deal would be accepted, as there is "no crime" to plea to

Of course, while it remains unclear at this point what motions to delay things will be filed or how the judge will rule on those requests, at least one thing has already been made abundantly clear by one of former President Trump's attorneys -- there will be no plea deal in this case.

In an interview Friday on NBC's "Today" show, Trump attorney Joe Tacopina asserted that there was "zero" chance that his client would accept a plea deal if one were offered. He said, "President Trump will not take a plea deal in this case. It’s not going to happen, there’s no crime."

As for the leaked information about the sealed indictment, the attorney said, "We do know it centers around a legal, very common confidentiality agreement that was signed years and years ago with Stormy Daniels, with her attorneys and (former Trump attorney) Michael Cohen. So it’s nothing more than that, which is really what makes this shocking."

"This was a personal resolution for a personal matter that would’ve been made irrespective of the campaign, so with those facts together, there is no crime," he added.

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