In the 2020 election-related case brought by special counsel Jack Smith, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., is scheduled to rule on Monday as to when former president Donald Trump will go on trial. If the judge’s decision is favorable, it could be the first of the former president’s four pending criminal cases to go to trial.
Sensitive Evidence Discovered
Prosecutors and Trump’s attorneys have proposed trial dates that fall on either side of the 2024 election, highlighting the disparities between the two sides’ expectations for how rapidly the pretrial process can progress before the hearing. Chutkan earlier stated that she would make a decision regarding the trial date at a hearing on Monday.
The hearing will be the second time Trump’s lawyers and the special counsel’s office will appear before Chutkan; the former president is not anticipated to attend. She issued a protective order in the case at a hearing earlier this month that restricted the use and publication of “sensitive” discovery materials and placed a narrower set of limitations on what information may be made publicly available than the prosecution had requested.
Trump has a First Amendment right to free expression, the Obama-appointed judge added, but he admitted that this freedom “is not absolute.” The former president, according to her, is subject to release terms, including as laws against witness intimidation, as a defendant. Chutkan informed John Lauro, who is representing Trump as the case’s lead attorney, that any dubious social media statements by his client will only serve to quicken the trial timetable in order to safeguard the jury pool.
Biased And Unfair
The judge’s warning came as Trump questioned the case and Chutkan herself, labeling her on social media as “highly partisan” and “very biased and unfair.” Federal courts have vast powers to set trial and hearing timelines in cases over which they preside.
In stark contrast to the 18 other defendants convicted alongside him in Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ racketeering case in Georgia, Trump is now the lone defendant charged as part of Smith’s federal election-related investigation. His legal team said they will make a vain attempt to get the federal case moved outside of Washington, D.C.
The Southern District of Florida-based case involving the confidential materials brought by the special counsel against Trump is now scheduled to go to trial in May.