Federal prosecutors proposed a January trial for former President Donald Trump on charges tied to his effort to overturn his loss in the 2020 election, which would be the third criminal trial slated for the same year Trump is running for another White House term.
Prosecutors, led by special counsel John L. “Jack” Smith, argued in a Thursday court filing in Washington that Trump should face a federal jury starting Jan. 2. Trump has been accused of three conspiracies to undermine the results of the 2020 presidential election, the government brief said, and the public has a right to see a quick trial in the case.
The government argued that would have “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.”
Trump pleaded not guilty to the charges filed in Washington, and his attorneys have a week to respond to the government’s trial proposal. In speeches and posts on his social media website Truth Social, Trump has called the prosecutions against him a political witch hunt by the Biden administration.
The two sides have already struggled to come to an agreement on an order that would protect evidence in the case from public disclosure. Trump’s attorneys have pushed back on restrictions, arguing that they would infringe on Trump’s free speech rights. Judge Tanya Chutkan set a hearing Friday over those evidence issues.
Chutkan has set a separate Aug. 28 hearing to nail down a trial date. If she goes with the government’s proposed date, it would be the first of three trials slated for next year while Trump remains the apparent leading Republican candidate in the 2024 presidential race.
Judges already set a March trial in New York on state charges that Trump falsified business records connected to his 2016 presidential campaign, and a May trial in Florida in a separate federal case charging he allegedly kept dozens of classified documents after the end of his presidency.
On Thursday, Trump appeared in court in Miami where he pleaded not guilty to a superseding indictment entered last month in that case with additional charges.
In that case, the former president’s attorneys unsuccessfully proposed holding off on a trial until after the 2024 presidential election.
Trump has rolled into his campaign his grievances against alleged government overreach with these indictments.
Attorney General Merrick B. Garland appointed Smith to lead the federal probes against Trump after the latter launched his reelection campaign. Garland and Biden himself have said that Smith decides what to do in the investigations.