A retired California Superior Court judge on Monday criticized attorneys for former president Donald Trump over a “stunningly stupid” argument they made in a court filing while trying to push their client’s Washington, D.C. criminal trial over the Jan. 6 insurrection all the way to 2026—an effort that ultimately failed.
Appearing on CNN’s The Source, LaDoris Hazzard Cordell told anchor Kaitlan Collins that it was inappropriate for Trump’s attorneys to reference the landmark 1932 Supreme Court decision Powell v. Alabama, in which the court said that a defendant who is charged with a serious crime “must not be stripped of his right to have sufficient time to advise with counsel and prepare his defense.” In its decision at the time, the court reversed the rape convictions of nine Black men, saying they did not get a fair trial—one which began only six days after they were indicted.
“What the Trump team did was say that, well, what happened in that trial is what could happen here in this trial, which was absolutely absurd,” Cordell said. She added that the defendants in the rape trial, known as the Scottsboro Boys, were not properly informed that they could even choose their own lawyers.
By contrast, Cordell explained, Trump now has a trial date of March 4 of next year, which is seven months away. Also, she said, the former president “has experienced lawyers—a whole team—[and] investigators.”
Not only was the invocation of Powell v. Alabama “stunningly stupid” due to the lack of similarity in the cases, Cordell continued, but because it alienated Judge Tanya Chutkan.
“A female judge, a black judge, and to talk about that case and compare it to Trump’s case was absurd,” she said, adding that she believes Chutkan was “absolutely offended.”
During Monday’s hearing, Chutkan said Trump’s case was “profoundly different,” and that the trial date she set “does not move the case forward with the haste of the mob.”
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