Former President Donald J. Trump immediately vowed to challenge the March 4 start date for a criminal investigation into his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
“I will appeal!” Mr. Trump wrote on social media Justice Tanya S. Sudkan issued his order on Monday.
But despite complaining about the date, Mr. Trump’s lawyer, John Lauro, told the court that “we absolutely” will abide by his decision. In April 2026, Mr. Lauro proposed that prosecutors begin in January, citing the amount of evidence defense attorneys need to examine.
Here’s a closer look.
Why is March 4th bad?
As he seeks the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, Mr. The date comes in the middle of an already crowded calendar for Trump.
In particular, Mr. As Trump noted, the day after the trial begins is Super Tuesday, when voters in more than a dozen states will cast their primary ballots. But despite the negative headlines at the start of the trial, his ability to campaign for primaries in the coming weeks is more likely to be affected than his efforts on Super Tuesday.
Because until the opening statements began, Mr. Trump is not required to attend. Although the trial is set to begin March 4, a jury must be selected first — and interviewing prospective jurors as part of an effort to assemble an impartial panel in such a high-profile and politically charged case will take nearly days.
Are trial calendars subject to appeal?
Generally, no, but there are complications.
First, Mr. Lauro may file a motion to reconsider Judge Sudkan’s timing and expressed his contention that he was not given enough time to adequately prepare for the March 4 hearing.
But if he refuses to change it, a federal district court judge’s decisions on a prospective trial calendar are generally not considered subject to immediate appeal. Instead, if the issue sought to be resolved by vacating any guilty verdict must await the conclusion of an appeal raising that issue.
In fact, if the former president is convicted, Mr. Mr. Trump laid the foundation for his argument. Lauro seems to be setting up. On Monday Mr. Lauro said the defense committee will not be able to provide Trump with adequate representation by March 4. Such a hearing date would deny his client the opportunity to obtain effective assistance of counsel. , he added.
But Mr Trump has another way of asking the high court to reconsider the calendar before the trial begins. It’s called a petition for writ of mandamus, and while it’s not technically considered an appeal, legal experts say, it’s very similar.
What is Writ of Mandamus?
It is a judicial order compelling a lower court judge to take some action. It acts as a safety release valve, allowing mainly initial appeals. A judge is reserved for extraordinary circumstances that cause irreparable harm to a defendant, so the normal process of waiting for any guilty verdict to raise the issue on appeal cannot provide a remedy.
Therefore, Mr. While Trump would normally have to wait until after the trial, his defense team could, in theory, try to block that process by filing a motion with the court. Appeals to the District of Columbia Circuit – or directly to the Supreme Court.
Is it easy to win such a mandate?
No. Generally, a mandamus petition is more likely to be dismissed, say legal experts. High courts, reluctant to disrupt the normal judicial process, have erected a steep barrier before agreeing to intervene in this way.
In A 1999 judgmentFor example, the DC Circuit has held that it will not even consider a mandamus motion based on the argument that the trial judge made a clearly erroneous decision because the issue can be resolved later on an ordinary appeal.
“As we have seen, any error — even a plain one — may be corrected on appeal without irreparable harm,” the justices wrote.
In 2004 judgment, the Supreme Court held that the right to relief must be “clear and indisputable” and there must be no other adequate means of obtaining it. Even so, it said, the High Court still has discretion to refuse to issue such an order if it believes that interference would not be “appropriate in the circumstances”.
Does Trump Have Evidence for a Mandamus Petition?
Himself, Mr. Objection Raised by Lauro – March 4 Mr. Paul F. Rothstein says. Georgetown University Law Professor and Expert in Criminal Procedure.
But the former president, in his public remarks, rejected Mr. Professor Rothstein said it was difficult to predict what would happen if Trump’s team also raised it. There is a strong case for a claim of irreparable harm because various primaries are exhausted at the time of judgment.
However, there is little precedent to guide the High Court’s decision on whether the impact of the trial date on the election is sufficient to warrant preemptive intervention. Still, it’s unclear where the high court might come down on whether the public interest would be better served by delaying the investigation or allowing it to go forward so that voters can quickly learn about a major candidate’s criminal record.
“Like many things with these unprecedented questions that the Trump cases pose, there is no definitive answer in law,” Professor Rothstein said.