John Eastman Posts Love Note To Trump On Fulton County RICO Docket

EastmanLast week, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis requested an August 5, 2024 trial date for the election interference RICO case against Donald Trump and 15 other defendants. The state asked the court to calendar a final plea hearing for June 21, stating that prosecutors will not accept any negotiated pleas after that date and will recommend the maximum sentence for any defendant who wanders in and throws himself on the mercy of the court. DA Willis finished by asking Judge Scott McAfee not to entertain any further severance motions until after the final plea date, since there may well be fewer defendants left standing six months from now.

This made Trump’s favorite coup lawyer John Eastman bigly mad, and not because heavy-handed prosecutors are implicitly threatening to come down like a hammer on anyone who dares to take their case to trial. Yesterday, he filed a pissy opposition, demanding that all the other defendants be forced to go trial first and let Trump put off his day of reckoning until, let’s say … NEVER, if he gets back into the White House. In short, Eastman delivered a big, wet kiss to Donald Trump, signaling to the former president and his supporters that he’s not going to melt like his fellow memo plotter Ken Chesebro, who pleaded out on the eve of his own speedy trial.

“The ‘Final Plea date’ should be established earlier in 2024 so that Defendants who do not have lifetime United States Secret Service protection and who are not running for election to an office can exercise and have their right to a jury trial completed within 2024,” Eastman began, before suggesting that the court effectively sever Trump now and hive the remaining defendants off into two groups.

Establishing a “Final Plea date” earlier in 2024 and severing the Defendants into two groups would provide more than enough time for the Court to try two trials each of eight on fewer defendants, absent former president Trump who at the present may be said to be the presumptive Republican nominee for the office of President of the United States. Without Defendant Trump in the courtroom the U.S. Secret Service will not be involved in providing enhanced security, and the trials will proceed faster.

This is a fundamentally ridiculous ask, and one which is unlikely to be welcome to all the codefendants who aren’t running for president — presumably they opted not to assert their speedy trial rights on purpose. Moreover, Eastman’s plan would arguably be prejudicial for Mark Meadows, Jeff Clark, and the fake elector defendants who are currently trying to get their cases removed to federal court.

But in addition to all that, Eastman presents no evidence that the trial would be slowed down by the presence of Trump’s Secret Service detail, and he deliberately ignores arguments about the waste of judicial and prosecutorial resources that would accrue from trying the same case twice. Although the scare quotes around “final plea date” are a nice touch.

In her motion, DA Willis assured the court that her office has the resources to try a case with multiple defendants, and pulls out an almost perfect Supreme Court citation in favor of trying defendants together to promote judicial economy:

It would impair both the efficiency and the fairness of the criminal justice system to require, in all these cases of joint crimes where incriminating statements exist, that prosecutors bring separate proceedings, presenting the same evidence again and again, requiring victims and witnesses to repeat the inconvenience (and sometimes trauma) of testifying, and randomly favoring the last-tried defendants who have the advantage of knowing the prosecution’s case beforehand. (Richardson v. Marsh, 481 U.S. 200, 210, (1987))

You mean Donald Trump would be at a massive advantage if the state were forced to present its case not once but twice before coming to his trial scheduled on the Fifth of Never? This had never occurred to John Eastman, the brilliant legal scholar!

And meanwhile, The Guardian reports that the DA is open to plea negotiations with everyone but Trump, Meadows, and Giuliani. So, the door’s open, John … but only ’til June.

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore where she writes the Law and Chaos substack and appears on the Opening Arguments podcast.


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