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'Crosses the line': CNN's top legal analyst points out the alarming problem with Jack Smith's creative legal maneuver
SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

'Crosses the line': CNN's top legal analyst points out the alarming problem with Jack Smith's creative legal maneuver

CNN legal analyst Elie Honig explained over the weekend why special counsel Jack Smith may be crossing a "line" by rushing one of Donald Trump's criminal trials.

Reacting to Smith's petition of the Supreme Court to review Trump's defense in his election interference case, Honig declared on Saturday that "any fair-minded observer" would agree that Smith is motivated by securing a conviction before Election Day — and, thus, politics.

"The motivating principle behind every procedural request he's made has been speed, has been getting this trial in before the election," Honig said.

To support his accusation, the former federal prosecutor explained that "the average federal conspiracy and fraud trial takes about a year and a half to two years between indictment and trial," citing the Jan. 6 protesters who were criminally prosecuted. Smith, on the other hand, tried to shrink that to just five months when he originally requested a January trial date.

According to Honig, the special counsel is "racing against the clock," hence his Supreme Court petition, which is bad news for justice.

"First of all, if Jack Smith is trying to get this case tried before the election, and he clearly is— look that is political," Honig explained.

Honig said the counter-argument — giving voters a resolution before Election Day — resonates with him, but it does not negate the political stench with which Smith's petition reeks.

"Here's the problem with that argument," he explained, "Jack Smith doesn't just want to get this trial done and let the chips fall where they may and let the consequences be what they can be. He's the prosecutor. He believes this case. He wants this case to result in conviction. And so, his position isn't just, 'Well, I want this case tried before the election.' His position really as a practical matter is, 'I want Donald Trump convicted before the election.'"

"I have no problem with the first part of that it's his job to want and try to convict Donald Trump now that he's indicted. But the second part of that before the election, that's where it crosses the line to the political in my view," Honig said.

What is the background?

Last week, Smith petitioned the Supreme Court to review the legal defense Trump is using in Smith's election interference case.

Trump's attorneys argue the former president is immune from criminal prosecution because the alleged crimes happened when he was still president, thus presidential immunity covers those alleged offenses. They also argue on double jeopardy grounds that Trump cannot be criminally prosecuted for the election interference offenses because the Senate already tried him after he was impeached in January 2021.

District Judge Tanya Chutkan disagreed with those arguments and ruled that Trump is not immune from prosecution. Trump's attorneys appealed that decision, which halted court proceedings.

Smith's Supreme Court petition, then, seeks to bypass the D.C. Court of Appeals, a creative legal maneuver that seeks to keep the case from being delayed.

The trial is scheduled to begin on March 4, one day before Super Tuesday.

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Chris Enloe

Chris Enloe

Staff Writer

Chris is a staff writer for Blaze News. He resides in Charlotte, North Carolina. You can reach him at cenloe@blazemedia.com.
@chrisenloe →