Donald Trump received some no good, extremely bad legal news on Friday, when The Guardian reported that Fani Willis, the Fulton County district attorney criminally investigating his attempt to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia has “developed evidence to charge a sprawling racketeering indictment next month,” according to people familiar with the matter. Obviously, being charged with racketeering would be exactly as bad as it sounds—and yet somehow, that wasn’t even the worst news the ex-president received today.
Instead, it was likely the decision by Aileen Cannon—a federal judge Trump himself appointed—to Date-classified-documents/” target=”_blank”>set a trial date of May 20, 2024, for Trump to face off with the federal government in the classified-documents case, that had staffers and aides hiding in hallways and coat closets to avoid Trump’s ire (and whatever ketchup bottles he could get his hands on). While the spring date is several months later than prosecutors had requested, it is very much well before the postelection one Team Trump had been angling for in the hopes of putting it off until the ex-president could have won a second term and made all of his legal problems—on the federal level, that is—go away.
Of course, just because Cannon issued a ruling that Trump will undoubtedly be very unhappy about today does not mean she won’t, as many fear, blow up the case in his favor when the trial finally kicks off. (As The Washington Post notes, “In her role, Cannon can have a significant impact on the case, including by ruling on what evidence can be included and deciding on any potential motions challenging the charges.”) On the other hand, the government’s indictment against Trump is said to be extremely strong: After the charges were unveiled last month, former attorney general Bill Barr opined: “I was shocked by the degree of sensitivity of these documents and how many there were, frankly. If even half of it is true, he’s toast.” As one Fox News legal analyst noted, “All the government has to do is stick the landing on one count, and he could have a terminal sentence. We’re talking about crimes that have a 10- or 20-year period as a maximum.” (Trump, along with his alleged co-conspirator, has pleaded not guilty.)
Incidentally, the documents case isn’t even the first criminal trial that Trump will have to fit into his schedule next spring. His trial versus the Manhattan district attorney—who charged him in April with various crimes related to his hush money deals—is slated to begin March 25, three weeks after Super Tuesday. (Trump has also pleaded not guilty in that case.)
In related news, The Washington Post reports that Trump’s many legal issues—including the New York case, the DOJ’s documents case, and the possible Georgia case, and the DOJ’s election-interference case that he’s expected to be charged in—are eating into a huge amount of campaign funds:
And if you’re thinking perhaps Trump was chipping in at least a little bit of his own money for his legal fees, think again. According to the Post, the former guy “is not relying on his personal fortune to cover his legal bills.” (You expected Trump pay for this s–t out of pocket like some kind of commoner? C’mon now.)