Major Trump trials delayed until after election

More than three years after ex-president Donald Trump led a fascist conspiracy to overthrow the Constitution and remain in power, recent decisions by courts and judges in Georgia, Washington D.C. and Florida have all but ensured that the most consequential criminal cases against him will not be heard until after the presidential election in November, which Trump is a slight favorite to win according to current polls.

President Donald Trump shakes hands with Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito at the White House in Washington, July 23, 2019. [AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster]

That Trump, the dominant figure in the increasingly fascistic Republican Party, is even competitive in the election is not a testament to his popularity, but instead a consequence of the completely anti-worker and warmongering policies of President Joe Biden and the Democratic Party, which have sickened and angered millions of working people and youth.

Despite Trump’s endless caterwauling about “political persecutions” and “election interference,” he has yet to spend a single day behind bars for his numerous crimes. There are two justice systems in the United States, based on class. For the rich and the well-connected, armed with millions of dollars and legions of lawyers, the courts are an inconvenience; for the working class, the poor and those who object to, and reveal, the crimes of US imperialism, the “justice system” is a conveyor belt to prison.

The billionaire ex-president is currently facing 88 charges across four criminal cases; two state and two federal. The most trivial of the cases, the New York “hush money” fraud trial, currently underway, is likely the only one that could have a resolution in 2024. The case has nothing to do with the numerous crimes Trump committed as president, or his efforts to stay in power despite losing the 2020 election.

The other state case against Trump is the Georgia election fraud case. Unlike the two federal cases, which Trump could quash by appointing a new attorney general if he regains the White House, he would not be able to pardon himself of any state felony convictions.

In August 2023, Trump and 18 of his Republican associates, including several of his top coup lawyers, were charged by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis with conspiracy related to their efforts to overturn the election result in Georgia. While four of those charged have already pleaded guilty and turned state witnesses, Trump and others have pleaded not guilty.

In a major decision, on May 8, the Court of Appeals of the State of Georgia agreed to review a lower court ruling that had allowed Willis to continue prosecuting the case against Trump. The request for review was granted following an appeal from Trump’s legal team.

Since January of this year, Trump and his lawyers have attempted to remove Willis from the case by using a romantic relationship between her and former special prosecutor Nathan Wade. For several months the case was effectively put on hold as the details of Willis and Wade’s relationship were discussed at length in court.

In March, Judge Scott McAfee ruled that while Willis hired Wade for the six-figure position as special prosecutor, this did not represent a “conflict of interest,” as alleged by the Trump team, but only “an appearance of impropriety.” McAfee ruled that Willis could remain on the case only if Wade left and that Trump’s team had the option to seek an appeal of his ruling at the Georgia Court of Appeals.

Wade left the case the same day of McAfee’s ruling and now that the case has been taken up for review, Trump’s team could appeal an unfavorable decision to the Georgia Supreme Court, further delaying the case.

The day before the court ruling in Georgia, Trump was handed another postponement, this time in the federal classified documents case brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith. In August 2022, Trump’s Mar-a-Lago compound was raided by the FBI after Trump refused to return dozens of boxes of documents, some highly classified, he had taken from the White House.

While Trump was aided in Georgia by the incompetence or corruption of Democratic DA Willis, in Florida, Trump has benefited enormously from several favorable rulings by federal district Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee.

On May 7, Cannon vacated a proposed May 20 start date for the trial while at the same time refusing to set a new date, writing in her order that it “would be imprudent and inconsistent” with the court’s need “to fully and fairly consider the various pending pre-trial motions,” which had been previously submitted by Trump’s lawyers, yet Cannon had refused to rule on for months.

Cannon set a future conference for the case for July 22, meaning it is highly unlikely a trial date would be set before the November election.

In an article by Rolling Stone, posted following Cannon’s ruling, a “Republican close to the former president” told the publication the federal judge was “a godsend” and “my favorite member of the Trump campaign.”

Citing “two other sources with knowledge of the situation,” Rolling Stone wrote, “Cannon’s delays and legal reasoning have become something of a running joke among the upper crust of Trumpworld, with various political advisers and campaign staff, lawyers, and media figures in the ex-president’s orbit remarking on how obviously and helpfully Cannon has been in the tank for Trump.”

The last major case is the federal charges filed against Trump in Washington D.C. for conspiring to stop the certification of the election. This is the only case directly related to the events of January 6, 2021. It was put on hold pending a Supreme Court ruling on Trump’s claims of absolute immunity from all crimes, including attempting to overthrow the government, while president.

The Supreme Court has until the end of its term in late June to rule on the case. It is expected that Trump will win some of his claims, given that several members of the court are implicated in his failed coup, including Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito. On Thursday, the New York Times reported that following Trump’s failed coup, an American flag on the front lawn of Alito’s home was hung upside-down, in solidarity with the “Stop the Steal” movement.

In an email to the Times, Alito blamed his wife for flying the flag upside-down, saying it was in response to an anti-Trump sign.

The recent decisions follow a pattern that has emerged more than 40 months after the failed coup. Those who orchestrated and led the attack, beginning with Trump and his Republican co-conspirators, have faced few or no repercussions from the so-called “justice system.”

The Democratic Party, and the Biden administration, have been opposed to a full accounting of Trump’s coup from the day it happened. Instead, their top priority has been forming a war coalition with their “Republican colleagues” in order to carry out military conquest abroad and class warfare at home. Instead of revealing the full extent of the conspiracy, Biden and the Democrats have appealed to Trump to “join me” in prosecuting war on immigrants, against Russia in Ukraine, and genocide in Gaza.

The only social force capable of bringing Trump, and the rest of the ruling class criminals to justice for their numerous crimes, from the failed coup to the genocide in Gaza, is the working class, politically organized and steeled with a socialist perspective.