With all the focus this past week on the advancements in the criminal cases against Donald Trump by the Manhattan DA and the DOJ, it’s important not to forget that Trump is also on the verge of criminal indictment in Fulton County, Georgia. It’s just that as Fulton County DA Fani Willis works her way through the regular grand jury calendar to carry out the formality of bringing her indictments, none of what she’s doing has happened to leak out.
But now, interestingly, Trump’s own two-bit tactics in the Fulton County case may have given some illumination on the timeline. Trump filed a silly case claiming that the Georgia constitution somehow forbids the use of a special grand jury, which is hilarious given that a Georgia state judge approved the special grand jury to begin with.
From the start I’ve pointed out that this kind of nuisance filing isn’t actually going to buy Trump any time, because it’ll be processed while the case against him is still advancing. This is more likely just a matter of Trump yelling “DO SOMETHING” at his attorneys, and them filing this in response just so they can tell him that they’re indeed doing something.
In any case, now the courts have told the Fulton County DA that she has until May 1st to respond to Trump’s filing. This is interesting because the DA isn’t the one who’s trying to stall things here – Trump is the one who’s trying to stall – and yet it’s the DA who’s being given five weeks to file a response that could probably take five minutes.
This tells me that the courts are giving the DA this amount of lead time to make sure that she can complete the indictment process and bring the indictments before she has to respond to this nuisance filing. This will ensure that she doesn’t have to prematurely reveal anything about her indictment process while it’s still going on. Then, once the indictments are official, the DA can file her response to Trump’s nuisance filing, and it can play out as a sideshow while the case is advancing.
So why five weeks? Why May 1st? For one thing, it’s a nice round date. The courts appear to be saying that they expect the Fulton County DA will have finished the indictment process and brought her indictments well before May 1st. At this point that seems like a given. May 1st is quite a long time away, given where she appears to be in the process. For all we know she could indict Trump tomorrow. But the May 1st deadline is a good reminder that, even as quiet as the Fulton County case has been of late, Trump is getting criminally indicted soon there too.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report