Former President Donald Trump may be headed for another major court loss after his pledge to appeal his Washington, D.C., trial date may not happen since the date a trial is scheduled is generally not an appealable issue, according to legal analysts.
Last month, the Department of Justice (DOJ) charged Trump with four criminal counts in special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into the former president’s alleged multiple efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, culminating in the January 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol. A mob of Trump’s supporters, allegedly motivated by his unfounded claims of voter fraud in the election, violently protested the results in a failed effort to block congressional certification of President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.
Trump who was indicted on four counts, including 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, maintained his innocence in the case and pleaded not guilty during his arraignment.
U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan scheduled the trial to begin on March 4, 2024. The date is more than two years earlier than the April 2026 date requested by Trump’s attorneys, who had sought to push back the trial after the 2024 presidential election during which Trump is the GOP frontrunner. Meanwhile, Smith had requested a trial date of January 2, 2024.
After the trial date was announced, Trump took to Truth Social, his social media platform, and wrote, “Deranged Jack Smith & his team of Thugs, who were caught going to the White House just prior to Indicting the 45th President of the United States (an absolute No No!), have been working on this Witch Hunt for almost 3 years, but decided to bring it smack in the middle of Crooked Joe Biden’s Political Opponent’s campaign against him. Election Interference! Today a biased, Trump Hating Judge gave me only a two-month extension, just what our corrupt government wanted, SUPER TUESDAY. I will APPEAL!”
While speaking with The Washington Post on Monday, former deputy appellate chief at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Tampa, Linda Julin McNamara said, “Most people think a person can appeal anything they don’t like in a case along the way, and that’s just not how the system works. There’s very little he can do at this point to slow things down via the appeal process.”
Similarly, Anthony Michael Kreis, a law professor at Georgia State University, told Newsweek on Monday, “Judges have the discretion to set trial schedules consistent with the needs of the court and reasonable requests made by defendants and the government. The idea that Trump has a right to appeal because it is inconvenient for his political schedule is meritless.”
Appellate lawyer at Maynard Nexsen, Kirsten Small also told the Post that courts severely limit what appeals can be filed before trial, particularly in criminal cases, but do allow them “where the defendant is going to lose rights that cannot be regained.”
“It’s sort of like an instant video replay for a court case because it halts the play and puts it to a higher authority,” Small said. “But for that reason, it’s pretty limited.”