CNN legal analyst Elie Honig poured cold water on Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis' pipe dream of sending former President Donald Trump to trial during primary season.
On Wednesday, Willis filed a pretrial scheduling order proposing the trial begin on March 4. That is the day before Super Tuesday, the day on which the most delegates are up for grabs in the Republican primary. The proposed date is also one week before Georgia holds its primary election.
"There is no planet on which this case will be tried in March due to the logjam that we just saw," Honig said on CNN late Wednesday.
The former federal prosecutor was referring to Trump's busy trial schedule. Willis, in fact, must compete with three other criminal cases involving Trump — one in New York City and two federal cases — and several civil cases.
To complicate matters, state trials take a lot of time, as a current RICO case in Georgia has demonstrated.
"There is an ongoing racketeering trial right now that the DA's office is handling in Georgia. They are still choosing a jury. They're seven months in," Honig said. "I know, that sounds unbelievable, but state jury selection is way slower than in federal cases.
"So even if they started in March, they'd still be picking the jury on Election Day, so that is not happening," he added. "I understand what the DA is doing. She's doing what prosecutors are trained to do. You always say, 'We are ready to go any day. We want to try everyone all together,' but March is not happening for this case."
Former federal prosecutor Michael Moore agreed and described Willis' proposal as a "sort of a PR move" that may help Trump.
"I think it throws gas to Trump to say, 'Look, why are they treating me different than every other criminal defendant in Fulton County? Why are they rushing my case? I'm not in custody taking up a jail bed. I didn't kill somebody and that mom and dad is waiting for the killer of their baby to be brought to trial. Why are they treating me different?' And this has played into that hand," he said.
Ultimately, the judge will determine the trial date. Aside from other criminal and civil matters involving Trump, the judge will have to consider the 18 other defendants and all of the pretrial legal jockeying that is already happening.
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