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CNN Legal Analyst Says Jack Smith Close To Infringing On Trump’s Rights

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


CNN legal analyst Elie Honig believes that the proposed trial date from Special Counsel Jack Smith to begin his case against former President Donald Trump could be infringing on his rights.

The former president’s attorneys have asked for the trial to start in January 2026 and Smith’s team asked for the trial to start in January 2024.

Honig found both dates requested to be ridiculous.

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“April 2026, this is the request now, Elie, from Trump’s attorneys to when they would like to see the trial on the federal elect — the 2020 election, the federal trial begin on its face. I wanted to get your take on what you think about the push to 2026. Because quite frankly, the contrast is almost comical between the request from Trump’s attorneys and the request from the special counsel asking for January of next year,” CNN anchor Kate Bolduan said on CNN News Central.

“Yes, Kate. And I think both sides are far off base in their requests. 2026 is sort of, obviously way too far out there. It’s hard to even conceive of 2026. I think that’s a vast overreach by Donald Trump’s team. But on the other side of the coin, asking for trial to start in January of 2024, as DOJ has done, is also not just unrealistic, but really gets close to infringing on Donald Trump’s right to prepare for a trial,” Honig said.

“He’s the one who has a constitutional interest here. He’s the one who’s liberty at stake. And I think his lawyers, in their submission, make a powerful argument that we cannot even physically get through the 11 million documents that we are in the process of being given by DOJ between now and January,” he said.

“And they don’t have to just sort of read through those documents. They have to analyze them they have to prepare their own defense, they have to file motions. So I think both of these dates are really out of bounds. And I think it’s going to be up to the judge to find the middle ground. Of course, the big question is will that middle ground be before or after the 2024 election,” he said.

Previously Honig warned that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis could see her blockbuster RICO case moved to federal court which would move it out of the liberal county.

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“The other big issue – and we just said this word – is removal. Get ready for a lot of talk about removal. Mark Meadows is already trying to do this. Donald Trump will try to follow. In a nutshell what this means is, if a federal official gets charged with a state crime that relates to that federal official’s official job duties you can get the case,” he said.

Honig argued that such duties must be “within the legitimate scope of those jobs,” adding that is “an important qualification. He [Trump and others] can get the case moved over to federal court and then potentially dismissed. So, these are really important motions. Mark Meadows has already done this, Trump is sure to follow.”

“The hard part, it’s a lot of work. You’re not going to be able to try all 19 at once. That’s not going to happen. And you just never know how every one of these defendants, let’s put aside Trump. Every one of these defendants, even the people we heard of is going to mount a furious defense, as is their right to do,” the analyst said.

“They all work together as one cohesive entity towards an illegal end,” he said. “You have the advantage to pick off some low-hanging fruit and get them to flip.”

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