Trump proposes April 2026 trial in federal election subversion case





CNN
 — 

Former President Donald Trump is asking the federal judge overseeing special counsel Jack Smith’s criminal election subversion case against him to set the trial for April 2026.

In a filing Thursday evening, Trump urged US District Judge Tanya Chutkan in Washington, DC, to reject Smith’s proposal for a January 2024 trial, saying he “seeks a trial calendar more rapid than most no-document misdemeanors, requesting just four months from the beginning of discovery to jury selection.”

“The government’s objective is clear: to deny President Trump and his counsel a fair ability to prepare for trial. The Court should deny the government’s request,” lawyers for the former president wrote.

They asked the judge to instead set jury selection and the trial for April 2026. Chutkan, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama, ultimately will decide the trial start date, a decision she is likely to make by the end of the month.

Among other things, Trump’s team argued that Smith’s proposed timeline for the trial would conflict with the other criminal and civil cases in which the former president is a defendant, including the classified documents case brought by Smith, the hush money case in New York and the Georgia election subversion case.

As CNN previously reported, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis wants her trial to begin in March 2024. The federal judge in the documents case has set that trial for May 2024, while the New York case is set to go to trial in March of next year.

“President Trump must prepare for each of these trials in the coming months. All are independently complex and will require substantial work to defend. Several will likely require President Trump’s presence at some or all trial proceedings,” they wrote.

“Without question, President Trump’s obligation to diligently prepare for this case does not end because of other pending matters,” the attorneys said. “However, the Court may, and should, consider the practical effects these parallel prosecutions will have on President Trump’s ability to meet the extraordinarily brief deadlines the government proposes.”

Federal prosecutors had requested to start the 2020 election interference criminal trial on January 2, 2024, days before the anniversary of the attack on the US Capitol and the Iowa caucuses.

The special counsel’s office said in a filing last week that its presentation of evidence in the trial would take “no longer than four to six weeks” and proposed having jury selection done in December, before the winter holidays.

“A January 2 trial date 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,” prosecutors wrote in their filing.

Trump had promptly objected to the proposal in a Truth Social post, saying at the time that any trial in the cases against him should wait until after the presidential election.

“Such a trial, which should never take place due to my First Amendment Rights, and massive BIDEN CORRUPTION, should only happen, if at all, AFTER THE ELECTION. The same with other Fake Biden Indictments. ELECTION INTERFERENCE!”

In a separate filing Thursday evening, Trump’s lawyers complained to Judge Aileen Cannon – a Trump appointee who is presiding over the classified documents case in Florida – that Smith’s trial timeline conflicts with the schedule Cannon has ordered in her case.

The conflict in question, according to the Trump team, is a hearing Cannon has ordered for December 11, which is the day Smith has proposed starting jury selection in the election subversion case. Trump’s lawyers are now asking Cannon to require Smith’s office to “explain its reasoning” in proposing overlapping schedules.

The filing also alleges that Smith has “circumvented” Cannon’s scheduling order.

“Special Counsel’s actions appear to be intentionally motivated to prevent Trump from meaningfully preparing for either trial and to simultaneously prevent him from running a campaign for President of the United States,” the filing states. Though it quotes from a Justice Department manual for prosecutors, the filing does not cite any case law.

Earlier Thursday, Cannon canceled tentative plans to hold a hearing on August 25 on a protective order for evidence in the documents case. She said in an order that the proceeding will take place under seal at a different time and place to discuss “sensitive, security-related issues concerning classified discovery.”

This story has been updated with additional details.



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