‘Blatant election interference’: Trump judge says his legal team should have prepared earlier

by WorldTribune Staff, August 30, 2023

Scheduling the trial date for former President Donald Trump’s federal case a day before Super Tuesday is not only “election interference,” but “brazen” Republicans said of U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan’s decision.

Chutkan made the scheduling decision on Monday. In doing so, the Obama appointee denied a request by Trump’s legal team for a spring 2026 trial date, saying they should have adequately prepared themselves even before the indictment was announced.

Setting a March 4, 2024 trial date for former President Donald Trump was no random act by Judge Tanya Chutkan, critics of the decision say.

“Democrats are putting President Trump on trial for ‘election interference’ the day before Super Tuesday… Total sham!” wrote Indiana Republican Rep. Jim Banks.

“U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan has set a trial date for President Trump’s sham J6 related prosecution for March 4, 2024. This is ONE DAY before Super Tuesday,” wrote Georgia Republican Rep. Andrew Clyde. “We must DEFUND this blatant election interference.”

Writing for The Federalist on Tuesday, John Daniel Davidson noted that the March 4, 2024 trial date was not chosen at random: “The aim is to get Trump off the ballot.”

March 5 is Super Tuesday, when more than a dozen states, from California to Texas to Virginia, will hold Republican primary elections.

“But this isn’t merely election ‘interference,’ it’s a naked attempt to rig the 2024 election,” Davidson wrote. “The timing here is important, because not only will Trump be pulled off the campaign trail at a crucial time, he will almost certainly be convicted over the summer. After all, the jury in this case will be drawn from a pool that voted 92 percent for Joe Biden. No matter how outlandish and unconstitutional the charges are, no matter how utterly politicized the process is, a D.C. jury is going to convict Trump.”

In arguing against a 2026 start date for the trial, Judge Chutkan said that Trump’s lawyers should have begun going through the evidence in the DOJ’s Jan 6 case against him even before the indictment was handed down.

In the transcript of the hearing, obtained by journalist Julie Kelly, Chutkan said that “the government hasn’t identified any cases in this district where the length of time between the indictment and trial was roughly five months, although they did point to the Manafort case in the Eastern District of Virginia, which went to trial roughly five months after the superseding indictment.”

Chutkan went on to say that “the manner in which the discovery in this case has been organized indicates that the government has made a considerable effort to expedite review.”

Prosecutor Molly Gaston noted that around one million pages of evidence came from the House Select Committee on January 6, including a trove of interviews and depositions that she said were “already public in redacted form.”

Trump said in a social media post: “How do you have an Indictment that is based almost entirely on the findings of the January 6th Unselect Committee of Marxists, Fascists, and Political Hacks, when these same lowlifes, who have been caught lying for years about Russia, Russia, Russia, Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine, FISA, the Fake Dossier, & much more, purposely & Illegally DESTROYED & DELETED all of the Evidence, Findings, & Proof of the January 6th Committee? When will Deranged Jack Smith Criminally Charge the Committee?”

Speaking to Trump’s attorney John Lauro on Monday, Chutkan said that he didn’t need more time than to the March 4 trial date to review the millions of pages of evidence. She said that this evidence, though it may be new to Lauro, “is material your client created or material that your client’s lawyers, maybe not you specifically, saw and reviewed and had possession of before this case.”

Lauro had asked for the start date to be delayed until April 2026 so the defense has time to go through the more than 12.8 million pages of discovery that have been given by the DOJ to the defense team.

“For a federal prosecutor to suggest that we could go to trial in four months is not only absurd, it’s a violation of the oath of justice,” Lauro said, adding, “We cannot do this in the time frame the government has outlined.”

Florida Republican Rep. Byron Donalds wrote on social media: “MARCH 4?!?! The DAY BEFORE Super Tuesday?!?!? Their attempts to interfere with the 2024 presidential election are so brazen it’s disgusting. Judge Chutkan should be thrown off the bench and run for DNC Chair.”

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