Experts: Jack Smith’s latest move means Trump can’t use Judge Cannon to prevent pre-election trial


Jack Smith Tom Brenner for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Jack Smith Tom Brenner for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Legal experts expect Donald Trump to be indicted in the Justice Department’s Jan. 6 probe after he received a target letter from special counsel Jack Smith’s team, predicting it will blow up the former president’s attempts to delay his federal proceedings until after the 2024 election. Smith informed Trump that he is a target of the probe after bringing charges against him in the Mar-a-Lago documents probe. Trump has sought to delay the trial indefinitely, citing his election campaign.

“This means that Trump will be indicted in the January 6th investigation,” former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti tweeted about the target letter. “This indictment will likely be brought in D.C. federal court, which means that the importance of Judge Aileen Cannon’s rulings in the Mar-a-Lago case are diminished.” MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Rubin agreed that the implication of the likely indictment in D.C. is that even “if Cannon caves to Trump’s demands not to set ANY trial date, she now can’t single-handedly prevent a federal trial before Election Day. The federal judges in DC have handled [hundreds] of 1/6 cases rapidly—and his should be no exception.”

Former U.S. Attorney Harry Litman called the looming D.C. indictment a “seismic event that among other things will recalibrate the timeline.” Most judges in D.C., he added, “are used to (and fed up with) Trump’s maneuvers and sensitive to need to move quickly.”


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