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Trump Legal News: It's Now or Never

If the name for a day ends in "y," there is a pretty good chance that the day had some Trump legal news. Thursday is one such day, and guess what? Trump legal news.

The main theme of the day, and of the week, is "get while the gettin's good." In fact, the first Trump insider has officially flipped. It was already known that Mar-a-Lago IT manager Yuscil Taveras was planning to turn against his boss, and now the details have been worked out and the paperwork is signed, sealed and delivered. Taveras had not been charged in the document-stealing case, and now he won't be... as long as he sings like a canary.

So, who is next? One possibility is former Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro. He refused to abide by the subpoenas issued by the 1/6 Committee. The Committee no longer exists, but we cannot have a precedent that recalcitrant would-be witnesses can just run out the clock on Congressional committees. And so, Navarro went on trial for contempt of Congress, and he was just convicted. Donald Trump did not lift a finger to help out, and now Navarro has to think long and hard about whether he wants to relocate to the crowbar hotel for a year or two (at the age of 74), or if he might not like to try a trade of Trump dirt for his continued freedom.

Another candidate for "next rat to desert the sinking ship" is Kenneth Chesebro. He's badly exposed and, if the current situation holds, he'll be the first (alleged) Trump co-conspirator to go on trial. Slate, which seems to have an army of ex-prosecutors on staff, has an interesting strategic analysis of Chesebro's situation. At the moment, Chesebro is trying to hold on to his political desires (keep Trump safe) and his personal desires (stay out of prison). The authors— Marcus Childress, Caroline Darmody, and Katya Jestin—assert, we think rightly, that too many things have to break just right for Chesebro to have his cake and eat it, too. He would probably need jury nullification in Georgia or a Trump reelection in 2024 plus a pardon in Washington, to be safe. That's too many "ifs" and "maybes" to pin one's freedom upon.

That means Cheese really needs to choose between his goals. If he wants to protect Trump, at risk of 5-20 years in the clink, then that's easy enough. On the other hand, if he doesn't want to spend (much of) the rest of his life in the hoosegow, then he's gotta turn traitor, and throw himself on the mercy of Fulton County DA Fani Willis and Special Counsel Jack Smith. He has little time left to do it, but the former prosecutors think there's still the possibility for him to negotiate no prison time in exchange for telling everything he knows. In any event, as anyone who has studied the prisoner's dilemma knows, it's better to sing early than late.

The other big story yesterday was the sharply-worded letter that Willis sent to Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH). Recall that Jordan, in service of his MAGA-related political goals, has been harassing Willis, and threatening to conduct all manner of investigations, and demanding information. A very precise executive summary of the letter Willis sent to Jordan: "No." An equally precise executive summary: "Fu** You."

You might want to read the letter for yourself (follow the link above), particularly if you are interested in the art of the takedown. The most important passage, in our view, is this from page 5: "While settled constitutional law clearly permits me to ignore your unjustified and illegal intrusion into an open state criminal prosecution..." Emphasis is ours. Even if he didn't pass the bar exam, Jordan is enough of a lawyer to understand that the message here is: "Keep pushing, Jimbo, and I might just have a chat with the grand jury about you and your behavior." In terms of pure shade, we're not sure if the juiciest part is when Willis says Jordan "lack[s] a basic understanding of the law, its practice, and the ethical obligations of attorneys generally and prosecutors specifically," (also page 5), or when she proposed a list of ways that Jordan could use his time more productively (page 8).

And that's the latest. By this time next week, we may well have the first official co-defendants-turned-traitor in Georgia. (Z)

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