Legal Showdown in D.C.: Trump's Team Clashes with Prosecutors over Trial Date

  • by:
  • Source: Wayne Dupree
  • 08/27/2023
Attorneys representing former President Donald Trump and the team of prosecutors led by special counsel Jack Smith will be in a legal battle on Monday in Washington, D.C. They will be discussing a potential trial date, as Trump, who is currently leading the Republican Party, seeks to postpone the trial until after the 2024 election.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who was chosen by former President Barack Obama, will listen to arguments from both sides regarding their differing requests for when the trial should begin. The ex-president, who is also the leading candidate from the Republican party for the 2024 presidential nomination, wants the trial to start in April 2026. However, Smith has requested Chutkan to begin it on January 2, 2024.


After pleading "not guilty" to the charges brought against him by Smith, accusing him of being involved in a plot to undermine the 2020 election, Trump has requested to postpone his trial until after the election. This would allow him the opportunity to potentially become president again and appoint an attorney general who could potentially end his federal criminal cases.

The defense team of Trump submitted a filing on August 17th, stating that they required more time to review over 11.6 million documents from the government's initial set of discovery. According to Trump's team, reading all of the records prior to the government's suggested jury selection date of December 11th would be comparable to reading "Tolstoy's War and Peace, from beginning to end, 78 times a day, every day."

Smith's team disagreed with Lauro's claim that the defense would have to carefully examine the documents. They argued that lawyers typically use electronic keyword searches to review such records and that the majority of the evidence provided by the Justice Department is already publicly available.

On August 3rd, Trump entered a plea of not guilty to four federal felony charges. These charges were brought against him by Smith, who accused Trump of being involved in a scheme to disregard the voters' decision and hold onto power after losing the 2020 election. This scheme ultimately led to the Capitol riot on January 6th. There are two charges connected to the interference with Congress's certification of the electoral vote on January 6th. One charge accuses individuals of planning to deceive the United States, while the other charge is for conspiring to prevent citizens from having their votes counted.

A prior hearing took place in front of the judge on August 11th. During this hearing, a compromise was reached regarding a protective order that outlines what Trump can discuss openly about the case, as long as the topics are not considered "sensitive." The judge also cautioned Trump against making "inflammatory" statements, as doing so could lead to a quick trial start, which he wants to avoid.

The special counsel's office is prosecuting Trump in a federal court in Florida for allegedly mishandling classified records after he left the Oval Office in January 2021. The trial in Florida is scheduled for May, and Smith's team has stated that any possible scheduling conflicts regarding this issue can be resolved individually.

The timing and public attention of Trump's legal schedule are important because they could potentially hinder him at a crucial moment in the campaign cycle. If Chutkan granted Smith's request for a trial to begin on January 2nd, it would occur in a time frame of less than two weeks before the Iowa caucuses. He is also facing two potential trial dates in March, one of which is right before Super Tuesday. If he is chosen as the GOP nominee, he would then be directly competing against President Joe Biden during the campaign.

The hearing on Monday, which will be held at 10 a.m., will allow members of the public and press to attend and there will be seating available at the courthouse.

The hearing comes after Trump turned himself in to officials in Fulton County, Georgia, on Thursday. He was charged on August 15 with a comprehensive 41-count racketeering indictment, along with 18 other defendants. The District Attorney, Fani Willis, has requested that the trial for this case begin in early March. However, legal experts strongly believe that a state racketeering trial will require more time before it can start in the spring.


Trump has also been set to have a trial on March 25, 2024, in a criminal case in Manhattan. This case is about a payment made to a porn star named Stormy Daniels on Trump's behalf during the 2016 presidential campaign. At the end of the previous month, he made an appeal against a decision that denied his attempt to transfer the case from a state court to a federal court.


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