Prosecutors have proposed January 2 for the start of Donald Trump’s criminal trial on charges of conspiring to overturn the 2020 election results.
That date is less than two weeks before the Iowa caucuses, and Special Counsel Jack Smith’s team is predicting that it will take “no longer than four to six weeks” to present its case.
The proposed trial date was outlined in a brief to U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is presiding over the case in federal court in Washington, D.C.
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Trump pled not guilty last week to four conspiracy charges related to his efforts to remain in power after the 2020 election, culminating in the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021. His legal team has not yet proposed their own date.
In Trump’s case involving his alleged withholding of classified documents, his legal team proposed delaying the trial until after the 2024 election. The judge in that case, Aileen Cannon, instead set it for May 20. By then, there is a very good chance that a presumptive GOP nominee will have emerged, although delegates will have get to make their choice official, as the party convention is set for July.
Smith has said that he wants a speedy trial. Jury selection would start on Dec. 11, according to the proposed schedule.
Prosecutors wrote that the timeline “would then provide roughly five months before the start of trial for the defense to review discovery—which, as described below, the Government expects to be substantially complete in advance of the Court’s hearing on August 28, 2023.”
Smith’s team argued that the timeline “would vindicate the public’s strong interest in a speedy trial—an interest guaranteed by the Constitution and federal law in all cases, but of particular significance here, where the defendant, a former president, is charged with conspiring to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election, obstruct the certification of the election results, and discount citizens’ legitimate votes.” They argue that the proposed schedule would be plenty of time for Trump’s defense. Rule 12 and other dispositive motions, essentially answers and objections to the charges, would be due September 25, and motions in limine, or proposed evidence that should be barred from the trial, would be due November 13.
Chutkan has set a hearing for Friday as she weighs whether to issue a protective order in the case, as Smith’s team warns that Trump would be prone to release discovery material or grand jury testimony as it is shared with his defense team. The former president’s attorneys contend that the protective order should be narrower in focus, and apply to only materials deemed “sensitive.” Trump is not required to be at the hearing.
Prosecutors also took issue with Trump attorney John Lauro’s contention that a speedy trial is only meant to protect the defendant.
“Not so. Under both the Sixth Amendment’s Speedy Trial Clause and the Speedy Trial Act, the right to a timely trial is vested in the public, not just in the defendant.” Smith’s team wrote.
“Trial in this case is clearly a matter of public importance, which merits in favor of a prompt resolution.”
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