Former President Donald Trump has received a significant blow to his re-election hopes at the hands of a federal judge in Washington, DC. On Monday, August 28, District Court Judge Tanya S. Chutkan ordered the trial about his alleged 2020 election interference to begin on March 4, 2024 – right in the midst of the GOP primaries. This hobbles Trump’s bid for the White House with a federal criminal trial starting one day before Super Tuesday, when a third of delegates will be selected.
Running a highly contested nationwide nominating campaign for elected office challenges even the best-prepared and -organized candidates, requiring laser-like attention to detail. Instead of being focused on winning the GOP nominating battle and the presidential election, Trump will be mired in the Jan. 6 trial in Washington, DC. His defense attorneys petitioned the court to set trial in April 2026, well after the presidential election is over.
Super Tuesday Trial for Trump
Reports from Chutkan’s courtroom indicated that Trump’s lead defense attorney, John Lauro, clashed with the judge and DOJ lawyers over the start date. With a trial to begin in just six months, how could the defense get through the 12.8 million pages already produced by the government as discovery evidence? Lauro claimed, “This is an overwhelming task,” and “This man’s liberty and life is at stake. He deserves an adequate representation.” The judge responded to the lawyer with “take the temperature down here.”
Courthouse News’ Ryan Knappenberger reported that prosecutor Molly Gaston and Chutkan agreed that Trump should be punished for not starting his trial prep before his indictment. “Gaston on Monday emphasized that a majority of the discovery — about 7 million documents — were already available to the defense,” Knappenberger wrote, adding that Chutkan had noted “Trump had plenty of prior notice of the government’s investigation, which began in September 2022, and could have begun preparing well in advance.” Trump was indicted on Aug. 1.
The former president responded to the day’s events by posting on his Truth Social platform account that:
“Today a biased, Trump Hatin Judge gave me only a two month extension, just what our corrupt government wanted, SUPER TUESDAY. I will APPEAL!”
LibertyNation.com spoke exclusively to a former federal court clerk about scheduling and judicial discretion. The clerk responded that unless a scheduling decision is shown to be made with bias or otherwise in violation of a defendant’s constitutional rights, it is within the district court judge’s discretion. Chutkan did not say when a reasonably prudent American should mount a criminal defense after learning he or she was being investigated.
A Full Calendar
Lauro told the judge:
“We will certainly abide by your honor’s ruling, as we must. We will not be able to provide adequate representation … the trial date will deny President Trump the opportunity to have effective assistance of counsel.”
Trump faces a criminal trial in New York City on March 25, 2024, involving charges related to his response to Stormy Daniels’ payoff demand. His federal trial in Miami is set to start in May, and the recent Georgia state charges have no trial date set yet.
Trump’s defense team said it may conduct opinion polls of DC residents to determine whether it would be impossible to seat an unbiased jury. If that seems to be the case, it could support a motion for a change of venue.
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