Donald Trump’s criminal scandals are closing in on him all at once

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This week we’ll see the start of the Donald Trump vs. E. Jean Carroll trial, a groundbreaking and very important civil trial that will no doubt get a significant amount attention – just as it deserves. Yesterday I did a dive into what to expect (and not expect) from this trial. Before this week’s civil trial gets underway, it’s a good moment to remind ourselves of all the criminal trials that Trump has waiting for him on the other side of it.

We’ve already seen Donald Trump criminally indicted for thirty-four financial felonies in Manhattan. Given the differing speeds at which the courts in various jurisdictions tend to process criminal cases, it’s possible that Manhattan will end up being the last of Trump’s criminal trials. Two other criminal cases against Trump – or three, depending on how they’re filed – may end up getting to trial quicker.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis appeared to get everything she wanted and needed out of her special grand jury. Now she’s still waiting for regular grand jury time to go through the simple one or two day formality of bringing those indictments (yes, the grand jury system in Fulton County is this famously backed up; it’s why Willis used a special grand jury to do as much of the case work as she could). Recent reporting from a major news outlet suggested that Willis was likely to get that grand jury time in the second week of May, which is just a couple weeks from now. So yes, Trump could find himself indicted again rather soon.

Then there’s the DOJ, which fairly recently won a series of long-running court battles (dating back to long before Jack Smith) over striking executive privilege and attorney-client privilege and compelling everyone around Trump to testify against him. Since that time there have been reports of Smith putting a number of those individuals in front of the grand jury. It’s difficult to predict how close to the finish line these DOJ indictments are, but this kind of grand jury testimony is endgame stuff.

Best anyone can tell from the outside, based on the limited information that’s been surfacing about both cases, Smith is closer to the finish line in the Trump classified documents case than he is in the Trump election crimes case. The key remaining question is whether Jack Smith will decide to bring charges in the first case as soon as it’s ready, or wait until charges in both cases are ready. That’ll likely come down to timing. Smith knows how much time he’ll need to bring these cases to trial in spite of Trump’s stall tactics, and will obviously time the first of Trump’s indictments accordingly. It’s pretty easy to figure out the inherent logic of Smith’s timetable, but that doesn’t make it any easier to figure out the specific dates he has circled on his calendar.

Again, it’s crucial to keep in mind that as groundbreaking and consequential as this week’s Donald Trump vs. E. Jean Carroll case will be, it’s strictly a civil case involving civil damages – meaning no criminal charges, no criminal penalties, and no Trump in handcuffs. That stuff will all come later, once the criminal cases being brought by Manhattan, Fulton County, and the DOJ reach trial. At this point it’s all closing in on him.

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