- U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan set the former president’s trial date in his 2020 election case for March 4, 2024, a decision legal experts say likely can’t be appealed, despite putting the defense in a difficult position.
- Trump’s legal team asked for an April 2026 date due to nearly 12 million documents prosecutors turned over that would be time consuming to review, while prosecutors wanted the trial to take place on January 2, 2024.
- “Donald Trump, like every other defendant in a criminal case, is entitled to due process and effective assistance of counsel, which includes having an adequate amount of time and opportunity to review the evidence and consult with his attorneys in a meaningful fashion,” John Malcolm, vice president for the Heritage Foundation’s Institute for Constitutional Government and former deputy assistant attorney general in the DOJ’s Criminal Division, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Legal experts say the date for Trump’s trial may very well rob President Trump of his due process rights. U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia Tanya Chutkan set the date of the trial to the day before Super Tuesday. Tell me again that this corrupt judge isn’t politically motivated. The prosecutors sent Trump’s team 12.8 million pages of documents. They need to read every single one of those pages. Trump says he will appeal the date, but experts say success in that endeavor is very unlikely, but it could be grounds for a retrial under another judge.
John Malcolm said:
“This is all happening, as the judge well knows, while Trump is running for president, facing three other indictments (one of which has also been set for trial in May), and several civil lawsuits. Donald Trump, like every other defendant in a criminal case, is entitled to due process and effective assistance of counsel, which includes having an adequate amount of time and opportunity to review the evidence and consult with his attorneys in a meaningful fashion.”
“If he is convicted, one of the issues he could raise on appeal is that he was deprived of his right to due process and effective assistance of counsel because of the amount of discovery involved and the expedited trial schedule.”
Prosecutors initially requested a January 2, 2024, trial date, while Trump’s legal team wanted to hold off until April 2026, claiming an earlier date would violate their client’s due process rights because it would not allow them time to adequately prepare.
John Malcolm, vice president of the Heritage Foundation’s Institute for Constitutional Government and former deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, highlighted the “millions of pages” of discovery material the legal team must examine and consult with Trump about prior to the trial.
During the hearing, Trump’s lawyers raised a similar argument. “Mr. Trump is entitled to a defense that is reasonably prepared; it would be a miscarriage of justice if they don’t get that kind of defense,” Trump attorney John Lauro said, pointing to the 12.8 million documents prosecutors said they turned over, according to The Hill.
John Shu, an attorney and legal commentator who served in the George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush administrations, told the DCNF the date may “impinge” on Trump’s rights, but would likely not be successfully appealed.
“While it is possible that the current March 4, 2024, trial date in former President Trump’s D.C. case impinges on his due process rights, it is unlikely that it creates an issue that would be successfully appealed, in and of itself, should he be convicted,” Shu said. “Generally speaking, district court judges have enormous discretion over their trial calendars and discovery disputes.”
“They’re trying to get convictions before the election,” said Alan Dershowitz, the Felix Frankfurter professor emeritus at Harvard Law School and author of the book “Get Trump,” to the Daily Caller News Foundation. “[But] they can’t get it done in two weeks, they know it will take longer than that.”