A federal judge dealt a huge blow to Donald Trump’s 2024 election plans on Monday. She didn’t do much for his prospects of staying out of jail, either. Here’s what happened.
Federal Judge Tanya Chutkan on Monday set a trial date for Donald Trump on the charges that he illegally tried to overturn the 2020 election – “election subversion” is the technical term.
Specifically, Trump has been charged with four criminal counts, all related to his efforts to overturn the election. The end result, special counsel Jack Smith says, was the January 6, 2021, mob attack on the Capitol.
Trump had been indicted on the charges by a Georgia grand jury on August 15 and then made even bigger headlines a little over a week later.
Trump X User
On August 24, the former U.S. president was booked into the Fulton County Jail, and the event turned into a social media sensation. So, par for the course with Trump.
That evening, Trump posted his sparkling new mugshot on X (Twitter).
Trump had famously been booted from Twitter back in 2021, but Elon Musk reinstated the former head of state after he bought the social media giant for $44 billion in 2022.
Whether or not Musk’s decision to give his big purchase an X-rated new name is related to the obscenities of Trump’s presidency is open for interpretation.
Needing Time to Tell the Truth
What’s not in doubt, though, is the scowl Trump wore on his mugshot and the outrage from both sides of the political spectrum.
No one was quite sure what the future held for Trump, his candidacy, and his freedom. No one even knew when to expect a resolution.
But Chutkan moved swiftly to give the world at least a partial answer.
When Trump’s lawyers went before the judge after his indictment, they asked for his trial date to be set sometime in 2026.
That would give them time to gather the evidence they needed to properly defend Trump, they said. They wanted to show the world the truth and needed time to do that.
Would He Use Potential Presidency?
Of course, cynics and political opponents thought it was more than a little convenient that a 2026 trial would be a couple of years after the next election.
If Trump took office again in January 2025, it’s hard to tell what sort of maneuvering he could do as a sitting president to get out of the charges.
Chutkan has a reputation for swift justice, though. She speeds trials along and gets things done.
And, true to form, Chutkan wanted to make sure that she fulfilled her duty to offer each defendant a speedy trial. It’s a constitutional right, after all, guaranteed by the 6th Amendment.
Scrambling to Prepare
But when Chutkan handed down her ruling on when Trump’s trial would start, she shocked just about everyone.
Despite his lawyer’s insistence that Trump could not mount a strong defense until 2026, Chutkan set the former president’s trial date as March 4, 2024.
Now, with barely six months to prepare, Trump’s defense team is scrambling to get their house in order.
And, as usual, their first order of business has been spin control.
Denied Constitutional Right to a Fair Trial
Trump’s campaign said that the early date denies him his Constitutional right to a fair trial.
They neglected in their statement to mention that the trial is now set to begin before Super Tuesday. That’s the huge day of primary voting that always plays a major role in determining each party’s presidential nomination.
For his part, Trump continues to proclaim his innocence and swears he’s being targeted for political reasons.
Now, whether or not Trump is being targeted, his scheduled trial date will almost surely have political consequences for the Republican party.
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Gorodenkoff
Source: News Week