So little time, so much repetition. Thank God for Jack Smith’s five minute breath of fresh air today while the same stuff kept getting repeated over and over again. I get it, some people are just tuning in. But when you’re on for seven hours, it gets 0ld.
One nice thing. Like so many other Garland DOJ documents and filings, this was clearly a talking indictment. It goes a whopping 49 pages, and includes photos and testimony tidbits meant to do two things, intimidate the Trump defense team with the depth of his case, and finally start to show the public what has been kept under DOJ wraps until now.
Special Counsel Smith is already widely getting kudos for taking the somewhat risky move of moving most, if not all of the documents case to southern Florida for trial. It makes sense, since the vast bulk of the criminal activity, including lying to the FBI, and moving boxes around to hide them took place in Florida. And any residual charges stemming from Trump’s unauthorized possession, storage, and removal of the documents can be brought under a separate DC indictment.
But there are still risks. First, Washington DC voted for Biden 96-4. Florida went for Trump 52-48. Smith and his team are going to have to be uber vigilant not to end up with one kamikaze juror who can hang the damn thing and force a retrial.
The second thing is Bankruptcy court magistrate Aileen Cannon. Yeah, the crazy Special Master Trumpophile that had to be slapped down by the 11th Circuit not once but twice. It is unknown by what means she magically drew the gig of supervising Trump’s arraignment on Tuesday. But according to sources, it’s also in flux.
For instance, the Miami-Dade district court isn’t like Chicago or New York. They don’t have 50-60 federal judges on the FIFO roster. There may have only been two names when the case came up, and she was on top. There is also speculation that the chief judge may already that would have Cannon handle the arraignment, and then hand the case off to another judge for hearings and trial. And even if she keeps it, the 11th circuit is on guard to slap her down again if she goes off the reservation on pre-trial rulings. And who knows? Maybe Cannon learned her lesson with back-to-back public humiliations on behalf of Trump the first time.
But Smith also has a couple of things going for him as well. The first one is the indictment itself. Smith didn’t get it in DC, he got it from 23 random Florida citizens on the grand jury who didn’t even know when they were sworn in that they’d be hearing a case about Trump. But they racked him up on 37 counts.
Which tracks with my personal experience. To me, there are two kinds of jurors, the kind willing to pee on the floor to get off of jury duty, and those hoping to go home, but willing to serve if they’re called.
The media is full of the story of the woman in the Manafort federal case in Virginia. She was a MAGA true believer. She voted for Trump, would again, and admitted post trial that when she drove to court, she remembered to leave her MAGA hat on the seat so nobody would think she was biased. And when the time came, she nailed Manafort on every count. When a juror takes an oath, it gets real. Your personal word and dignity are on the line.
The second thing Smith has going for him is the Florida federal courts themselves. Once again Trump’s legal strategy, especially since he has no sane one, is his favorite twins, obfuscate and delay. He would love nothing more than to drag out the pre-trial motions until the national conventions, putting himself into the general election season for trial.
Unfortunately for Traitor Tot, Florida is one of the worst states in the union to try that. Because like the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Florida federal courts have the vaunted rocket docket. Their judges are famously aggressive in their scheduling. Get-’em-charged, get-’em-in, get-’em-out, get-’em-locked-up is the mantra. And Trump notwithstanding, Cannon should already be steeped in that mantra.
The goal for the federal courts is for the case to go to trial within 75 days of indictment. Of course, it never works out that way, mainly due to defense pre-trial motions requesting more time to prepare for trial. Even so, the national average is 8-9 months, and the rocket docket states are even quicker than that.
Which raises the real possibility that although the indictments were unsealed months after the Manhattan DA’s hush money case, if the rocket docket does its job, Trump’s case could either be in progress, or even heard and decided before the Iowa caucuses. This is going to get interesting real quick starting on Tuesday. Strap in, here we go.