You May Have Missed It, But Trump Just Got A Few Massive Boosts Last Month

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Former President Donald Trump stands to gain from various hold-ups in the criminal prosecutions against him, which make a conviction before the election — or in some cases even a trial — look increasingly unlikely.

In Georgia, the racketeering case against Trump and 18 co-defendants is on uncertain grounds after an explosive court filing alleged earlier this month that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is in a romantic relationship with the special prosecutor she appointed without the county’s permission, Nathan Wade, and improperly benefited from awarding him a lucrative contract. In Washington, D.C., Special Counsel Jack Smith’s Jan. 6 case against Trump is on hold pending his presidential immunity appeal, which seeks to dismiss the case entirely based on the argument that he is immune from prosecution for “official acts” he took as president.

Mark Penn, noted pollster for Bill and Hillary Clinton, said in a recent Politico interview that the Georgia case and Smith’s Jan. 6 case — the two cases facing the greatest obstacles — are the two voters care most about. (RELATED: Fani Willis Needs To Answer These Six Big Questions)

“What I found out [in polling] is they don’t care about the documents,” he said, referencing the Florida case. “So I said: What if he’s convicted in Georgia? They care somewhat about that. And then I said: What if he’s convicted in the Jan. 6 case of having helped foment the riot? Then Biden won. So it really said to me that, okay, the case that Jack Smith wants to prosecute, that’s the dangerous case.”

A recent poll by HarrisX for the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University showed Trump leading independent voters even if convicted in the Florida classified documents trial or the Georgia racketeering case. However, Trump ties in a hypothetical matchup with President Joe Biden if convicted in Smith’s election interference case, according to the survey.

In Georgia, Trump co-defendant Michael Roman’s motion seeks to disqualify Willis and dismiss the case entirely. Trump’s attorney adopted Roman’s motion last week, raising a new objection that Willis introduced racial bias into the case and violated professional conduct rules when she claimed allegations against her were based on racism.

The allegations will be sorted out at a Feb. 15 hearing before Judge Scott McAfee, where Willis, Wade and a handful of employees in the district attorney’s office have reportedly been subpoenaed to testify. Before this, Willis faces a Friday deadline to file her response to the motion with the court and to respond to Fulton County Commissioner Bob Ellis’ request for her to disclose information relating to potential misuse of county funds.

Bank statements showing Wade purchased airline tickets in Willis’ name appeared to somewhat substantiate claims that the pair traveled on vacations together paid for by Wade, though the district attorney has not officially responded to the allegations.

Smith, meanwhile, has relentlessly pushed to keep a trial date set for March 4, the day before Super Tuesday. But the case has been on hold for over 50 days as Trump’s request to dismiss the case based on presidential immunity makes its way through the appeals process.

Judge Tanya Chutkan, who first declined to dismiss the case based on presidential immunity Dec. 1, stayed proceedings and froze pre-trial deadlines while the appeal plays out. (RELATED: Trump Wins Among Independents Even If Convicted In Criminal Cases: POLL)

The D.C. Circuit Court, which appeared critical of Trump’s claim during oral arguments early January, has yet to issue a decision. It’s likely the issue will need to be ultimately resolved at the Supreme Court, leaving the timeline for resuming the case at the district court indefinite.

Smith sought to speed up the process in December by asking the Supreme Court to take up Trump’s immunity claim before letting the lower court weigh in, which it declined to do.

Meanwhile, the judge in the Florida classified documents case will hold a March 1 scheduling conference to determine whether the May 2024 trial date should be postponed.

Trump’s case in Manhattan, where he was indicted on 34 counts for allegedly falsifying business records related to hush-money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels, is still scheduled to start March 15. Judge Juan Merchan will consider whether the date needs to be postponed at a Feb. 15 pre-trial hearing.

Trump’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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