While the classified documents case in Florida against Donald Trump is no doubt the more legally sound affair for Jack Smith, he’s smelling blood in the water in Washington, D.C.
After indicting Trump for a third time, this time in relation to alleged statements and actions surrounding the 2020 election, Smith hit a home run when Judge Tanya Chutkan was selected to preside over the case. As RedState has chronicled, Judge Chutkan has a history of being extremely harsh toward January 6th defendants, and her recent behavior has pointed to that same bias being pointed against Trump.
On that front, the DOJ has officially proposed a trial date for its D.C.-based prosecution. According to Smith’s request, he wants a January 2nd, 2024 trial date, with jury selection beginning on December 11th, 2023.
BREAKING: Prosecutors want a *Jan. 2, 2024* trial date for Trump on charges related to his bid to subvert the 2020 election.https://t.co/WrNDWMrmoF
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) August 10, 2023
In the filing, the DOJ states that it will take four to six weeks to present its case, exclusive of how long the defense takes, putting a verdict sometime in the following months. Further, Smith mentions that his proposal would satisfy the public interest of having a speedy trial. That’s likely to make Judge Chutkan happy, as she has already shown a supreme interest in not suffering any delays. I would expect her to grant the DOJ’s proposal or set a date somewhere very close to it.
The timing is notable and concerning, at least if you are a Republican who is hoping to see Joe Biden lose next year. The Iowa caucus is set to be held on January 15th, 2024, with New Hampshire’s primary taking place a week later. Smith’s proposed trial date does one of two things. It either ensures that Trump is busy in court during the heart of the primary season, or it ensures that the trial takes place sometime in the midst of the general election season.
That will be dependent on whether Judge Chutkan allows any significant delays. In a normal situation, you would always assume that delays will occur, and judges are usually open to working with defendants in that manner. I’m just not sure this specific judge will operate in a normal fashion. She’s already shown a penchant for denying perfectly reasonable requests from Trump’s legal team.
Putting this all together, it looks like the DOJ has played schedule in a way that will not interfere with Trump winning the GOP nomination (because, at the earliest, a verdict will come weeks after Super Tuesday) but will saddle him with a possible conviction prior to the general election. Is that just a coincidence? Especially given this specific D.C.-based case against Trump could have likely been brought over a year ago?
I don’t think so, and I doubt very many others are going to think so either. Apparently, interfering in elections is fine as long as the target is a Republican and the aggressor is the U.S. government.