OAN’s Daniel Baldwin
1:23 PM – Monday, August 28, 2023
The federal judge overseeing 45th President Donald Trump’s federal case regarding his efforts to challenge the 2020 election results set a March 4, 2024 trial date – one day before Super Tuesday.
“This is a totally unfair violation of President Trump’s due process and the duty of the attorney to prepare for this case,” Paul Kamenar, counsel for the National Legal and Policy Center, told One America News.
Tanya Chutkan rejected both sides’ proposals for a trial date. Special Counsel Jack Smith proposed Jan. 2, 2024 and Trump’s attorneys pitched April 2026. Chutkan rejected both, but settled on a date eight weeks later than Smith’s proposal.
“There’s no way that any defense attorney can prepare this kind of defense for this kind of a case in that short amount of time,” Kamenar said.
A Trump spokesperson slammed this trial date, saying it deprived the 45th president of his “Constitutional right to a fair trial.”
“Crooked Joe Biden, Deranged Jack Smith, and their henchmen continue to abuse the American justice system in their goal of interfering in the 2024 Presidential Election in order to prevent President Trump from returning to the Oval Office,” said the unnamed spokesperson. “The date set today deprives President Trump of his Constitutional right to a fair trial, a seminal bedrock of America, and continues to expose the corruption of the witch hunts being thrown against President Trump. From setting a trial date for the day before “Super Tuesday” to sending a fundraising email the moment of President Trump’s processing in Fulton County, the Biden regime is no longer hiding its nakedly political motivations. President Trump will not be deterred, he will fight these hoaxes at every turn, and will win for the American people.”
Central to Chutkan’s ruling was the access Trump’s legal team had to the 12.8 million documents the government handed over in discovery. Prosecutors claimed that Trump’s team had access to more than seven million of these documents as they stemmed from his political action committees, the National Archives and Records Administration, and Secret Service. They also claimed there were numerous duplicate documents in discovery as well.
“You have to look at these documents to make sure that they are duplicates,” Kamenar explained. “That takes time. You can’t just push a button and find out that things are duplicated or look for search terms. You have to read these. You have to analyze these, you have to prepare for cross-examination of these witnesses.”
Chutkan also appeared to be sympathetic to prosecutors arguing that Trump had nearly a year to begin preparing to face charges in this case as he and his team were aware of the grand jury investigation since September 2022.
“The judge is basically saying, ‘Well, you knew this indictment was going to come along, because we had the grand jury last fall convene,’” said Kamenar. “Well, just because you have a grand jury convening does not obligate a defense attorney who’s not even hired in the case to start preparing for defense. You don’t even know what the charges are. This is a totally unfair violation of President Trump’s due process rights.”
Chutkan, an Obama appointed judge who called Black Lives Matter protests “mostly peaceful” in a previous ruling, also said Trump’s team “knew” the indictment was coming. Kamenar claimed that phrasing sent a message loud and clear.
“That to me showed that the deal was done, so to speak, to go after Trump,” Kamenar said.
Lauro informed Chutkan he would be submitting pretrial motions regarding executive immunity and selective prosecution. He indicated the motion on executive immunity could come as soon as this week.
“Executive immunity basically says that everything that was charged in this indictment occurred while President Trump was still president,” Kamenar explained. “And under Supreme Court law, he has executive immunity in terms of any civil suits that are filed against him. And there’s a good legal argument that he should have immunity for any criminal charges that are brought against him in the course of his executing his duties.”
“If [executive immunity] is denied, [Trump’s legal team] has a right to go immediately to the Court of Appeals to get that reviewed,” Kamenar continued. “And that’s going to take three to six months just to sort that out.”
The March 4th trial date will also overlap with Trump’s New York case, which is scheduled to go to trial on March 25th.
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