Federal judge sets Trump hearing date in election interference case

WASHINGTON — The judge overseeing former President Donald Trump’s election interference case in federal court has set a trial date for March 4, 2024, a timeline that could have crucial implications for the 2024 White House race.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan’s decision sets the trial in the middle of the Republican presidential primary and the day before Super Tuesday.

During a hearing Monday, Chutkan heard arguments from Trump’s attorneys and federal prosecutors about when the case might go to trial. Special Counsel Jack Smith suggested the trial begin in January and jury selection begin in December this year, while Trump’s team said the trial should be delayed until April 2026, after the presidential election.

“These proposals are obviously very far apart,” Chutkan said Monday. “Neither of them is acceptable.”

Chutkan said that Trump must prioritize the trial and that she would not change the trial schedule because of another defendant’s professional obligations, such as to a professional athlete.

The public has an interest in fair and timely administration of justice, Chutkan said. Trump’s attorney said a trial next year would violate the former president’s rights, citing the millions of pages of discoveries prosecutors have turned.

“This is a request for a show trial, not a summary judgment,” Trump’s attorney, John Lauro, said of the special counsel’s proposed timeline. “Mr. Trump is not above the law, but he is not below the law either.”


After Chutkan delivered her verdict, Lauro announced a statement on file, stating that Trump’s defense team would not be able to adequately represent her client at this hearing. Chutkan noticed his objection and walked on.

At the beginning of the hearing, Chutkan said that while the special counsel team’s proposal was premature, Trump’s proposal for 2026 was not reasonable. “Discovery in 2023 doesn’t mean sitting in a warehouse with boxes of paper and looking at every page,” Chutkan said.

“This case will not go to trial in 2026,” Chutkan said. She pointed out that Trump’s team had already had time to prepare; The public has known of the existence of the grand jury investigating Trump since September 2022, and the identities of many witnesses are known.

A federal grand jury in Washington, DC this month indicted Trump on four counts: conspiracy to defraud the United States; conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding; Obstruction; and conspiracy against the right to vote and the counting of one’s vote. Trump pleaded not guilty during his arraignment hearing in early August.

In their motion for a trial in January, federal prosecutors said the start date “would justify the public’s strong interest in a speedy trial — an interest guaranteed in all cases by the Constitution and federal law but of particular importance here.” , where the defendant, a former president, is charged with conspiring to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election, obstructing the certification of the election results, and disparaging the legitimate votes of citizens.”

Trump’s attorneys cited the large body of evidence in the case, as well as Trump’s ongoing legal problems in other jurisdictions, in their proposal to begin the trial in April 2026.

Trump faces three other criminal cases: prosecutors in New York and Georgia and a federal prosecution in Florida in connection with his handling of classified documents. The New York trial is also scheduled to begin in March, beginning on the 25th, and the Florida trial is scheduled for May. The judge in the Georgia case, in which Trump was arrested, charged and released Thursday, has not yet set a trial date.

Trump did not and did not have to attend Monday’s 10 a.m. hearing at the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse, which overlooks the scene of some of the most brutal acts of violence in the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Chutkan, who has received death threats in connection with the case, previously warned Trump not to intimidate witnesses. “Lord. “Trump, like every American, has a First Amendment right to free speech,” she said. “But that right is not absolute.”

Daniel Barnes contributed to this.


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Jennifer Adams

Dedicated news writer with a passion for truth and accuracy. Covering stories that impact lives.

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