“I remember talking to you at the time of this indictment, and there’s some question about why did Jack Smith just indict Donald Trump and have six unindicted co conspirators? I think today is the reason why he did that,” Christie, a former federal prosecutor, told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Monday.
In Christie’s view, Smith, the special counsel leading the case, restricted the case to one defendant in order to get it moved to trial.
“He indicted the person he felt was most culpable,” Christie said. “And today I think what the judge did was twofold: One, she gave them another six months to get ready for trial in a single-defendant case, and two, she made it quite clear to the Trump legal team that the public relations games that they and their client play are not going to impact the decisions that she makes in the courtroom.”
Looking ahead to March, Christie said Republican voters should be wary that Trump will likely be spending four to six weeks in a federal courtroom “and not campaigning against Joe Biden.”
“This is disastrous for the Republican Party,” he said. “And this is why I’ve been saying right from the time I get into the race, that given his personal conduct, given the stuff that he did himself, that he simply can’t be our nominee.”
The trial’s start date falls one day before the Super Tuesday primaries. Trump is the current front-runner in the Republican presidential race.
U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan announced the date on Monday, after rejecting proposals from both the prosecution and the defense.
Smith had requested that the trial start in January, with jury selection beginning in December. Trump’s team countered with April 2026, nearly a year and a half after the next presidential election.
Trump faces four felony charges in the case: conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against rights.
He has also been charged with 87 additional crimes spread across three other cases, including a federal case concerning his handling of classified documents and two state-level cases.
In New York, he’s charged with falsifying business records linked to a hush money scheme involving porn actor Stormy Daniels, and in Georgia, he’s accused of spearheading a racketeering conspiracy to subvert the will of voters in the 2020 election.