Former U.S. attorney Joyce Vance in a Friday podcast episode accused former President Donald Trump of “abusing the system” by using his rights as a defendant to legally delay his cases.

Trump has successfully delayed the cases he faces as a defendant, making it so some are unlikely to occur before the upcoming presidential election. Vance on “Defending Democracy” criticized Trump while praising Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and special counsel Jack Smith for their efforts to accelerate the cases against the former president and hold his “feet to the fire.”


“I mean, it’s tough, right? It is a balancing act,” Vance said. “I reject this notion, and I hope that people aren’t saying this seriously, you know, ‘lock him up’ as applied to Donald Trump. Well, no, every criminal defendant is entitled to all of the protections that the Constitution provides, including Donald Trump. So, there’s that part of the balance. And then there’s this notion of protecting political leaders from the criminal justice system being weaponized, something Republicans are throwing around these days without much basis for it. But we don’t want to be that banana republic where the criminal justice system becomes a tool of the White House or a tool of political people.”

“That, I think, is why prosecutors were right to go slow early on,” she continued. “They were breaking fresh ground. They wanted to ensure that before they investigated a candidate, then a sitting president, that they crossed every ‘I’ and dotted every ‘T,’ and that was frankly the right decision.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland asserted in a January interview Trump’s trial in Smith’s case should be quick as the 2024 presidential election approaches and the special counsel has repeatedly endeavored to speed up its timeline. CNN justice correspondent Evan Perez noted the Department of Justice has policies regarding avoiding cases around elections, but Garland defended Smith and did not raise concerns about overlap with the election.

“On the other side of the equation is the way that Donald Trump uses the system against itself,” Vance continued. “And once it becomes clear that he’s abusing the system for delay to avoid facing courts, then I think the judges and prosecutors have to kick in and do, frankly, what they did in Manhattan, hold that defendant’s feet to the fire, say as Jack Smith has said in the Washington, D.C., prosecution, ‘you know, the public has a speedy trial right too.’ And try to get the equation so that everyone’s rights, both the defendant’s and the public’s, are respected.”

Vance is part of a group of prominent anti-Trump legal pundits who have been discretely meeting weekly on Zoom to hash out key talking points ahead of their appearances on corporate media outlets to discuss the former president’s court battles, Politico reported in April.

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