Washington: US prosecutors on Thursday asked a federal judge to begin former President Donald Trump’s trial on charges of trying to overturn his 2020 election loss to Democrat Joe Biden on Jan. 2, 2024.
That date would have the trial get under way just two weeks before the first votes are cast in the 2024 Republican presidential primary, a race in which Trump is the front-runner.
“The government’s proposed trial date represents an appropriate balance of the defendant’s right to prepare a defense and the public’s strong interest in a speedy trial in the case,” lead prosecutor Jack Smith said in court filing asking for a January 2 start. Trump, who is facing prosecution in multiple jurisdictions over allegations of criminal conduct before, during and after his presidency, quickly responded to the request with a furious post claiming “Election Interference.”
“These Fake Indictments against me didn’t come down from heaven, they came from the most corrupt President in the history of the United States, Crooked Joe Biden, in order to Rig & Steal another Election,” he said. Smith, a former war crimes prosecutor at the Hague, charged Trump last week with four felony counts: conspiracy to defraud the United States; conspiracy to obstruct, and actual obstruction of, an official proceeding; and conspiracy against the right to vote.
A spokesperson for Trump said Smith and the Justice Department “are blatantly playing political games,” citing Trump’s status as a front-runner in the 2024 election.
Trump himself said on his Truth Social platform that any trial should be held after the 2024 U.S. elections. Such a date would potentially give him the power to end his prosecution if he were to become president again.
“Such a trial …… should only happen, if at all, AFTER THE ELECTION,” Trump said in a post on Thursday.
Prosecutors also predicted it will take about four to six weeks to put forward the bulk of their case against Trump at trial.
Trump last week pleaded not guilty to charges over the alleged election conspiracy.
Smith’s office said it is prepared to turn over to Trump by the end of August most of the evidence it intends to use at trial in a process known as discovery.
Prosecutors also said there is a “minimal” amount of classified information involved in the election case, and asked Chutkan to address that issue at a previously scheduled Aug. 28 hearing.
A January trial would have Trump on trial three times in the first half of 2024.
He will go to trial in March over New York state charges that he falsified documents in connection with hush money payments to a porn star. Trump also faces a May trial from Smith in southern Florida over the retention of classified documents after leaving office.