Get Your Popcorn! Upcoming Trials!


Whew!  You’d think that were enough to track! But, as I said, I’m setting all that aside.

Here are the civil cases, so far as I can tell, that have trial dates set, so it’s time to buy your popcorn:

First up is the case by Dominion Voting Systems against Fox News, alleging that Fox knowingly or recklessly made defamatory statements about Dominion while covering the aftermath of the November 2020 election. This should be a good one! The witness list involves all of Fox’s stars, as well as Rupert Murdoch and Paul Ryan. There have been emails produced during discovery that should make excellent fodder for cross-examination. The trial is set to begin in just three weeks — on April 17! — and to run for roughly five weeks. Life’s gonna get interesting!

Next comes the case by E. Jean Carroll alleging sexual battery followed by alleged defamatory statements by Trump. Shoot! This trial may interfere with your viewing of the Dominion case; this one starts on April 25. Okay — watch the Dominion case during the day, and then tape the Carroll case, so you can watch it at night. You won’t sleep much, but you’ll get plenty of drama.

(I’m just kidding. I suspect, but don’t know, that few, if any, of these trials will be publicly broadcast. You’ll have to settle for reports by folks who were in the courtroom.)

You can take the summer off from your political trial-watching.

But come back this fall for more action!

The case by Attorney General of New York Letitia James against Trump and his business empire is set for trial on October 2, and the judge has promised that the trial will begin on that day “come hell or high water.” The judge will hear that case without a jury, so it’s quite likely to begin on the promised start date. But a nonjury case involving many complex business transactions is a different sort of beast; the trial will last a long time, may not run on consecutive days, and is likely to be tedious in parts. On the other hand, the days when Donald Trump, and Eric Trump, and Trump CFO Allen Weisselberg testify will be a hoot, as will the days when Michael Cohen, and the accountants from Mazars, and the bankers from Deutsche Bank are on the stand.

It’s hard to handicap that case, because the facts are so complex and the damages so hard to calculate, but it’s a fair bet that this lawsuit will be the first one to threaten Trump with serious economic damages.

I can hardly wait.

Then we run into cases that will probably go to trial toward the end 2023 or early 2024 but for which no trial dates have yet been set: Dominion Voting Systems against Rudy Giuliani for defamation; and the separate case of Dominion versus Sydney Powell; and the separate case of Dominion versus the My Pillow guy, Mike Lindell.

In fall 2024, we’ll probably see Smartmatic versus One America News Network, a defamation case alleging that OANN defamed Smartmatic. Smartmatic is accused of providing software to Dominion. Smartmatic also was supposedly founded by Hugo Chavez, and is owned by George Soros, and Lord knows what else. That should be a doozy.

So far as I can tell, no trial dates have yet been set for cases in which Eric Swalwell, a member of the House of Representatives, has sued Trump for his conduct on January 6; the three separate Smartmatic cases against Giuliani, Powell, and Lindell; and the two Smartmatic cases against other broadcasting networks — Smartmatic against Newsmax; and Smartmatic against Fox.  (Dominion has done a fair amount of the legwork for Smartmatic for its case against Fox, uncovering evidence that reflects poorly on Fox’s state of mind. But I really don’t know exactly what Fox said on the air about Smartmatic, which of course lies at the heart of a defamation case.) There are also cases by Dominion against the networks other than Fox: Dominion versus Newsmax and Dominion versus One America News Network.

Did I mention that some folks on the Capitol Police force have filed a case about the events of January 6? And, in a separate case, some folks on the Metropolitan Police force have filed a similar lawsuit?

And Karen Bass, and other members of the House of Representatives, are suing Trump for conspiring to prevent Congress from counting the electoral votes on January 6?

And, since I’m only human — and I’m getting tired — there are undoubtedly more that I’ve missed.

I draw three conclusions from all of this: First, we’ll see some fine political drama on television for the next couple of years. Second, it’s no wonder that the judiciary is overwhelmed. Lastly, you’ll have to start working out harder than usual for the foreseeable future, given how much popcorn you’ll be eating.

Mark Herrmann spent 17 years as a partner at a leading international law firm and is now deputy general counsel at a large international company. He is the author of The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law and Drug and Device Product Liability Litigation Strategy (affiliate links). You can reach him by email at [email protected].


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