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Legal experts rebuke decision to rush Trump's DC trial: 'Not the way it works in our system'
ALON SKUY/AFP via Getty Images

Legal experts rebuke decision to rush Trump's DC trial: 'Not the way it works in our system'

Two legal experts questioned on Tuesday the justification for Donald Trump's election interference trial date.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan ruled that Trump will begin trial on March 4, 2024, for the conspiracy and obstruction case brought by special counsel Jack Smith. The judge admonished both sides for proposing dates that were not "acceptable." Prosecutors had sought a January 2024 start date, while Trump's team pushed for April 2026.

Criminal defense attorney and Columbia Law School lecturer Caroline Polisi explained on CNN why she was surprised by the date and the fact that the judge sided with the government's argument for an earlier trial.

"You can't just really take the government's word for it," she said. "There are 12 million documents here to look through. The government noted there are duplicative documents in that dump, that he has many of them in his possession already. However, you can't just go on that. You are going to want to look through those documents to make sure there's nothing in there that's a surprise.

"You know, March 4th, it's coming up. A lot of federal trials would give more time on that," she explained.

Former federal prosecutor Elie Honig agreed, explaining why the arguments prosecutors made for an earlier date just "don't cut it."

"For example, one of the things DOJ argued, and the judge agreed with, is, well, he's sort of known that this was a possibility for a year or so," he said. "That's not the way it works in our system. You are not on notice, as a criminal defendant, until an indictment drops. That's the purpose of an indictment. You can't just say, 'Well, you kind of should have known there was something floating out there in the ether.' That doesn't cut it."

Another of the "big rationales," Honig explained, is that prosecutors prepared a "handy guide to the most important documents" for the defense. But that means nothing — and should mean nothing — for Trump's attorneys.

"That's nice. That's a sweet courtesy," he mocked. "But, guess what? It's up to the defense lawyer to decide what matters to the defense."

The judge and prosecution, by having an ultra-speedy trial, are "cutting it pretty close to the line here with respect to Donald Trump's constitutional right to fully prepare," Honig added.

Trump has vowed to appeal his trial date, though it may be unsuccessful — if he can do it at all. Trump has pleaded not guilty.

The trial will be Trump's first, beginning one day before Super Tuesday. Trump also faces a March 25 trial in Manhattan and a May 20 trial in Florida for the classified documents case. A Georgia judge has not yet set a trial date for the RICO case.

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Chris Enloe

Chris Enloe

Staff Writer

Chris Enloe is a staff writer for Blaze News
@chrisenloe →