On Monday afternoon, Donald Trump was informed that his trial on charges of attempting to overturn the election will begin next March, after he’d asked for the proceedings to be delayed until April 2026. Not surprisingly, the ex-president subsequently took to Truth Social to rant about the trial date and tell his followers, “I will APPEAL!” Unfortunately for the ex-president, legal experts have said he can’t. But if Trump would like to channel his frustration in a productive manner, something he might consider doing is asking his legal team to refrain from making, as one retired judge put it on Monday night, “stunningly stupid” arguments on his behalf.
That argument involved the ex-president’s attorneys invoking Powell v. Alabama, a.k.a. the Scottsboro Boys case, when they requested that Trump’s trial shouldn’t take place for another two-plus years. Which was a pretty strange thing to do given that Powell v. Alabama is a landmark 1932 Supreme Court decision that overturned the convictions of nine Black teenagers who’d been falsely accused of rape and forced to stand trial less than two weeks later, with one lawyer who hadn’t worked in years and another who wasn’t licensed to practice in the state assigned to represent them as their defense attorneys. In other words, there are no parallels between the two cases, and not just because Trump is being represented by high-priced attorneys of his own choosing who have been given more than six months to prepare a defense. District judge Tanya Chutkan noted this on Monday, saying the two situations were “profoundly different” at their core.
Which, of course, was putting it mildly. Hours later, retired California Superior Court judge LaDoris Cordell summed up the situation in slightly more forceful terms. “The moment in that hearing,” Cordell told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, “I only have two words that describe it, as stunningly stupid.”
She went on to not only call the comparison “absurd,” but also a great way to get on a judge’s bad side: “If you want to alienate a judge in a case, this was exactly what to do. A female judge, a Black judge—and to talk about that case and compare it to Trump’s case was absurd. And Judge Chutkan really took them up on it and said this case is entirely different. I think she was absolutely offended. It was really a stunningly stupid thing to do.”
Later, responding to Trump’s declaration on Truth Social that he will “appeal” the trial date, Cordell told Collins: “His lawyers know you can’t appeal a trial date. So this talking will continue. And I will tell you, he is a nightmare for his lawyers. I mean, you have somebody like Trump, who has a fragile ego, who is a misogynist, who is a racist, in my view, and who also has this constant need to talk? Then there’s a term for that: logorrhea. Then, that is a real problem. It’s going to be an issue, for his lawyers, to try to keep him quiet, even in the courtroom.”
Earlier this month, Chutkan warned Trump and his attorney, John Lauro, against making “inflammatory” statements regarding the case. “I caution you and your client to take special care in your public statements about this case,” Chutkan said. “I will take whatever measures are necessary to safeguard the integrity of these proceedings.”