A legal expert has walked back his prediction that former President Donald Trump would evade trial in the federal election subversion case, saying this week’s developments are making him look “gloriously wrong.”
Elie Mystal, an attorney and legal reporter for The Nation, said he had read a transcript of U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan’s decision on Monday to set a trial date of March 4.
“I am starting to worry that I am going to need to file an official notice of ‘I was wrong’ with the relevant authorities,” he wrote in a thread on X (formerly Twitter) on Tuesday.
“My position has been that Trump will not be brought to trial before the RNC, at which point he’ll be named as their nominee and trying him becomes nearly impossible before the election. BUT, Chutkan is doing the thing I thought no judge would: treating Trump as a normal citizen,” he added.
I've read through Judge Chutkan's transcript from yesterday and... I am starting to worry that I am going to need to file an official notice of "I was wrong" with the relevant authorities. I'm very close to being paraded through the streets while @MuellerSheWrote chants "shame."
— Elie Mystal (@ElieNYC) August 29, 2023
Mystal noted that the start date could still be moved, but even if the trial was pushed back until May, “that’s still plenty of time to try and convict before the RNC in July,” and the judge “doesn’t seem inclined to grant the massive delays the defense is asking for.”
Chutkan rejected trial dates requested by both the prosecution and the defense.
Special counsel Jack Smith had proposed a January trial, while Trump’s team had asked for the trial to start in April 2026, more than a year after the next presidential election.
Chutkan said Trump would have to prioritize the trial and she would not change the schedule based on his professional obligations. She noted that if a professional athlete were on trial, “it would be inappropriate to set a trial date to accommodate her schedule.”
Mystal said Chutkan’s decision had him totally rethinking his legal analysis.
“I could move the goalposts and say that he won’t be *jailed* until after the election (’cause he won’t, because of appeals),” Mystal continued. “But I didn’t even think he’d be brought to trial and, boy howdy Chutkan is trying to make me owe some dinners all across this country.”
“I still could be right, but she’s making me look wrong. Gloriously wrong,” he added.
Trump is facing four felony trials with proposed start dates next year. He’s been indicted on a total of 91 criminal counts across the two federal and two state-level cases.
He is currently the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, leading his nearest rivals by double digits in the polls.