Trump Proposes 2026 Start Date For Election Interference Trial
Written by Teniola Akerele on August 18, 2023
Lawyers for Donald Trump on Thursday requested an April 2026 trial date on the federal charges that he conspired to overturn the 2020 election — long after next year’s presidential vote.
The request comes as lead prosecutor Jack Smith is pushing for a January 2 start date in the case, one of four criminal prosecutions that Trump is facing in the middle of his White House reelection campaign.
“The public interest lies in justice and fair trial, not a rush to judgment,” the ex-president’s lawyers said in their filing.
They argued the amount of documents in the case would require months to process.
“Assuming we could begin reviewing the documents today, we would need to proceed at a pace of 99,762 pages per day to finish the government’s initial production by its proposed date for jury selection,” they said.
“That is the entirety of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, cover to cover, 78 times a day, every day, from now until jury selection.”
Judge Tanya Chutkan is set to decide the trial date on August 28.
“The government’s proposed (January 2) 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,” Smith previously said in a court filing asking for the January start.
The case is the most serious of four criminal probes that have yielded dozens of felony charges against Trump, including allegations that he covered up hush money payments to a porn star in a bid to cheat campaign finance rules ahead of the 2016 election.
The government also accuses Trump of mishandling dozens of classified documents he took from the White House as he left office, including military plans and nuclear secrets, and plotting with his staff to hide them from investigators.
Biden’s attorney general, Merrick Garland, appointed Smith as a special counsel in the federal election conspiracy case, giving him sole charge of prosecuting decisions in a bid to avoid actual or apparent political influence.
Trump and his team have decried the prosecution as politically biased.
“The incumbent administration has targeted its primary political opponent — and leading candidate in the upcoming presidential election — with criminal prosecution,” his lawyers said in their Thursday filing.
The dates for two of Trump’s other trials, at the state level in New York and at the federal level in Florida, have already been set to open ahead of the November 2024 vote, in March and May, respectively.
The trial date for his election-related racketeering charges in Georgia has not yet been fixed.
Trump indicated Thursday on his Truth Social network that he would cancel a news conference on the Georgia 2020 election planned for Monday at his Bedminster, New Jersey golf club, in which he had promised to reveal new evidence of fraud in the state’s vote — allegations for which there has never been any evidence.
He said that his lawyers preferred instead to make the case in “formal legal filings.”