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Political Notebook

Several in Ga. election case waive right to speedy trial

Fulton County District Attorney Fani WillisJohn Bazemore/Associated Press

ATLANTA — Former president Donald Trump and several other defendants are waiving their right to seek a speedy trial in the Georgia case in which they are accused of participating in an illegal scheme to overturn his loss in the 2020 presidential election.

The filings are part of the legal maneuvering as Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis seeks to try all 19 defendants together starting next month. Most of the defendants have sought to separate their cases from some or all of the others, with many saying they will not be ready by Oct. 23, when a trial has been set for two defendants who have already filed demands for a speedy trial. The judge has expressed skepticism that all defendants could go to trial that day.

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Trump was the first to file the speedy trial waiver. The early front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, Trump has previously sought to slow proceedings in his other criminal cases while he seeks a return to the White House in the 2024 election. He is facing prosecution in a state case in New York, as well as federal cases in Washington and Florida.

Trump’s waiver of his speedy trial right was filed Tuesday on the heels of a brief filed by Willis’s office arguing that all the defendants should be tried together because of efficiency and fairness issues. Prosecutors said holding several lengthy trials instead of one beginning on Oct. 23 would “create an enormous strain on the judicial resources” of the court and would favor the defendants tried later, who would have the advantage of seeing the state’s evidence and arguments ahead of time.

Associated Press

Trump cites Putin to assert unfair treatment

Former president Donald Trump pointed to sympathetic comments from Russian President Vladimir Putin early Wednesday to try to bolster his case that he is being treated unfairly by prosecutors in the United States.

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Trump, who is facing 91 charges in four separate criminal cases and who has accused prosecutors of targeting him to hamper his political future, posted on his social media platform just after midnight that Putin essentially agrees with him. Trump leads a large field of candidates for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

Putin, who has a history of persecuting his political opponents, claimed Tuesday that the criminal cases against Trump were part of “the persecution of a political rival for political reasons.” He predicted that the proceedings against Trump would diminish America’s global standing, to Russia’s benefit.

“As for the prosecution of Trump, for us what is happening in today’s conditions, in my opinion, is good because it shows the rottenness of the American political system, which cannot pretend to teach others democracy,” Putin said at an economic forum in eastern Russia.

The comments reflected the largely warm relationship between the two leaders during Trump’s presidency, which included a 2018 summit at which Trump refused to support the collective conclusion of US intelligence agencies that Russia had interfered in the 2016 US presidential election.

Trump has continued to maintain that he and Putin are on good terms, despite the isolation of Putin by the West for his invasion of Ukraine — which Trump once described as “genius” and “savvy.”

Trump’s Republican primary rivals quickly seized on Putin’s latest remarks. In a statement, former vice president Mike Pence said Putin’s opinion has no value in the United States.

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“America’s founding principles will always stand the test of time,” Pence said. “Putin should be more concerned about how quickly his military went from being the second most powerful in the world to the second most powerful in Ukraine.”

Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, one of the most vocal Trump critics in the GOP field, called Putin a “brutal, mass-murdering, KGB hitman” and said that Trump needs new role models.

“Get it straight. Trump is under indictment because of his conduct. He played with fire and is getting burned. And now his best buddy is coming to his defense,” Christie wrote in a social media post. “If you are on the same side as Putin, you might want to rethink your position.”

Former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson, also a longtime critic of Trump, noted Trump and Putin are using the same talking points and said Trump’s actions are “giving comfort to our enemies.” Former Wyoming congresswoman Liz Cheney, who has not ruled out a presidential run if it would keep Trump from serving a second term, also blasted both Putin and pro-Trump Republicans.

“Putin has now officially endorsed the Putin-wing of the Republican Party,” Cheney wrote. “Putin Republicans & their enablers will end up on the ash heap of history. Patriotic Americans in both parties who believe in the values of liberal democracy will make sure of it.”

Washington Post

Boebert removed from theater in Denver

DENVER — Representative Lauren Boebert was kicked out of a “Beetlejuice” show in Denver on Sunday, according to security footage.

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The theater didn’t name Boebert, but a spokesperson said Wednesday that the video — which showed Boebert and a guest being escorted out of the venue — was of guests who were kicked out after audience members accused them of vaping, singing, using phones, and causing a disturbance.

Her campaign manager confirmed Boebert was kicked out but denies she was vaping. Boebert and the other guest left.

“I can confirm the stunning and salacious rumors: in her personal time, congresswoman Lauren Boebert is indeed a supporter of the performing arts (gasp!),” said Drew Sexton, Boebert’s campaign manager, in a text message, adding that Boebert “pleads guilty to singing along, laughing, and enjoying herself.”

Boebert is in her second term in Congress and is running for reelection in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, largely covering the state’s western half. The theater disturbance was first reported by The Denver Post.

In her relatively short time in Washington, Boebert has built a national profile with a combative style that’s grabbed media headlines, most famously by heckling President Biden during his 2022 State of the Union address to Congress.

During the argument in the theater, the two made comments along the lines of “do you know who I am” and “I will be contacting the mayor,” according to the venue’s statement.

Associated Press