Maggie Haberman used a phrase that struck like a lightning bolt in an interview on CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper. The New York Times reporter stated that she doesn’t believe that people have wrapped their heads around the fact that Trump will be in a criminal courtroom on trial from March to April and likely through the election.
It was startling because even as an attorney, it really hadn’t sunk in for me.
As a criminal defendant, Trump must attend the trial each day — I don’t know if he hopes to fly to campaign events in the evenings or if his campaign will be conducted solely on Truth Social and by a presumably non-criminal running mate.
But the presumptive Republican nominee will be a defendant in at least two trials that are expected to begin before the election. The first, ironically, will almost surely be the Washington DC case in front of Judge Tanya Chutkan.
I say “ironically” because it was filed well after the far simpler case in Florida, the case with the files that would likely be shorter and have far fewer witnesses.
Chalk it up to the difference between having a no-nonsense, experienced judge in Judge Chutkan versus whatever Florida-based Judge Aileen Cannon might be.
Judge Cannon is the Southern District of Florida’s least experienced judge. And yet she’s going to oversee a trial of a former president?
Regardless, Judge Chutkan’s trial will likely begin in March or April, and we don’t have the slightest clue as to how long it will go. Fani Willis plans on starting her trial in front of Judge McAfee in August, and she expects it to go into early 2025.
Donald Trump’s trial in Georgia will likely be televised.
In response to Tapper’s question as to whether Haberman expects any of the trials to begin before the election, Haberman said:
“I do. I think that…something has happened in the last couple of hours. One is that Fani Willis in Fulton County, Georgia has asked for the trial to be set, I believe on August 5th in that case. What’s fascinating about that is it suggests that she thinks that the documents case in Florida is not going to happen at all before the election, because there’s going to be a hearing on that in March about whether to move it.”
“I do think that the federal trial on election subversion charges is going to happen in March or April at the latest. And I think we will see several months of a trial. I don’t think people have quite gotten their heads around what it’s going to look like when there is the potentially the presumptive frontrunner for the Republic nomination — Republican nomination, sitting in a courtroom every day. You have to attend as a criminal.”
I don’t know about “several months” for Jack Smith’s election interference case. He is 100 times the lawyer I’ll ever be, but he knows he has to be cautious about the “O.J.” mistake of presenting too much evidence and confusing the issues more than defining them.
Willis is stuck with a six-month-long trial unless all but Trump and Meadows take a plea deal, and she doesn’t seem to be offering many more freebies. She has the evidence that she needs.
It seems almost criminal that the former president’s criminal trial for his actions leading up to the insurrection will not be televised. The nation deserves to see it, and I hope the Supreme Court settles the matter favorably.
But there is no question in my mind that the citizens of this country, especially the MAGA extremists, really haven’t wrapped their minds around what the year will be like.
Expect Trump to go insane and act out because he is the other guy who hasn’t wrapped his mind around what it will look and feel like, just as Haberman predicted.
I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on X @JasonMiciak.
Editor’s note: This is an opinion column that solely reflects the opinions of the author.
Jason Miciak is an associate editor and opinion writer for Occupy Democrats. He's a Canadian-American who grew up in the Pacific Northwest. He is a trained attorney, but for the last five years, he's devoted his time to writing political news and analysis. He enjoys life on the Gulf Coast as a single dad to a 15-year-old daughter. Hobbies include flower pots, cooking, and doing what his daughter tells him they're doing. Sign up to get all of my posts by email right here: