Experts mock Trump whining it’s “unfair” he doesn’t get jury after lawyer “messed up the paperwork”

Former President Donald Trump on Monday complained that it was “unfair” that he is facing a bench trial after his lawyers failed to request a jury trial.

Trump sat through the first day of his Manhattan trial in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ civil fraud lawsuit on Monday and repeatedly lashed out at James and Judge Arthur Engoron to reporters at the courthouse during breaks.

“We are not entitled to a jury, which is pretty unusual in the United States of America. I think it’s very unfair that I don’t have a jury,” Trump told reporters after Monday’s session ended.

But Engoron told Trump and his legal team in court on Monday that the reason he is holding a bench trial is that “nobody asked for” a jury trial on the former president’s legal team.

Legal experts called out Trump’s complaint.

“Will someone – anyone – please inform him it’s because his lawyer messed up the paperwork?” tweeted attorney Bradley Moss.

“Let’s be clear: Trump can only blame his own lawyers for this bench trial versus having a jury trial. He can’t blame the judge or even the NYAG. This is all on his defense team,” argued MSNBC legal analyst Katie Phang.

Former acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal questioned whether it was a “competence issue” by Trump’s legal team.

“I have no idea whether this was an intentional, purposeful decision by Trump’s legal team to waive his right to a jury trial or not, because with Trump and his team, it’s hard to know where incompetence ends and where actual strategy begins,” he told MSNBC.

Even on Fox News, host Jessica Tarlov pointed out that “it also seems that [Trump] doesn’t—and this has happened to him before—have a top-notch legal team with him.”

“He has the one lawyer who he had to pay in advance because he stiffs everybody,” she said on Monday’s edition of “The Five,” referring to Trump’s $3 million payment to defense attorney Chris Kise. “Then he has Alina Habba, who gives a great cable news hit but it seemed that she forgot—or just, I don’t know what happened—to check the box saying that they wanted a jury trial and then Donald Trump is complaining to the cameras and on Truth Social that it is un-American to have a trial without a jury when his own crackpot team asks for that.”

Trump lawyer Alina Habba in an interview with Newsmax rejected the criticism from legal analysts, arguing that it would not have been as simple as checking a box.

“I have to address this one common misconception in the press, and unfortunately it just keeps getting repeated, which is that we had this great option to have a box checked for a jury. No, we didn’t have that. That’s not how this works. They brought it under Section 63(12), which is a very narrow, not appropriately used section of the law, which is for consumer protection,” Habba argued.

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It’s unclear whether a jury trial would have been available under New York Executive Law 63(12), the statute under which the case was brought and some legal experts believe it would not have been, The Messenger reported.

But New York attorney Andrew Laufer, who has represented former Trump fixer Michael Cohen, argued that it was a “big mistake” by Trump’s legal team not to seek a jury trial.

“This was a huge error on the part of the defense team by failing to request a jury,” he wrote. “It virtually negates any hope of a defense verdict. The only realistic shot the defense has is if the plaintiff fails to meet their burden under the law – prima facie case. That’s not going to happen.  Trump will lose and lose big. This isn’t an appeallable issue since Trump was afforded a reasonable opportunity to request a jury trial. Again, this isn’t a criminal case. Trump’s remedy would be to sue his counsel for legal malpractice if the verdict goes [against] him.”

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