Former President Donald Trump will face a bench trial in a New York fraud lawsuit brought by Attorney General Letitia James, after his lawyers failed to request a jury trial.
Legal experts have expressed surprise at the decision, calling it a blunder by Trump’s legal team.
“I honestly can’t believe that any lawyer hired on such an important case could make this mistake,” said defense attorney Andrew Fleischman.
In a bench trial, the judge will decide the case without a jury. This means that Trump’s fate will be in the hands of Judge Arthur Engoron, whom Trump has repeatedly criticized.
“For Trump to have his fate in the hands of this judge, whom he has vilified, is malpractice by his lawyers and very ominous for him,” said former U.S. Attorney Harry Litman.
The trial is scheduled to begin on October 10, 2023.
What does this mean for Trump?
The absence of a jury trial could be a disadvantage for Trump. Juries are typically more sympathetic to defendants than judges are. Additionally, Trump has a history of making controversial and inflammatory statements, which could alienate a jury.
However, there are also some potential advantages to a bench trial. For example, judges are typically more likely to allow complex legal arguments than juries are. Additionally, judges are less likely to be swayed by public opinion.
Overall, it is difficult to say whether the absence of a jury trial will be good or bad for Trump. The outcome of the trial will likely depend on the strength of the evidence presented and the legal arguments made by both sides.