U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia, Tanya Chutkan, has scheduled the trial date for former President Trump’s alleged interference in the 2020 presidential election for March 4, 2024. This decision falls amidst the GOP presidential primary season.
Trump’s defense had proposed a much later date in April 2026, well beyond the 2024 election results. However, the judge sided closer with Special Counsel Jack Smith’s preference for a January 2, 2024 start. Should the trial commence then, it would conclude around the times of the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire’s primary.
Historically, this marks Trump as the first U.S. former president to stand against criminal charges, creating potential political turbulence given his significant position within the GOP presidential contenders, according to Fox News.
John Lauro, Trump’s defense attorney, voiced concerns about providing ample representation given the decided schedule. In response, Judge Chutkan highlighted her plans to release a pre-trial timetable soon.
The courtroom also briefly deliberated over possible polling of D.C. citizens to evaluate the necessity for a venue change. Lauro noted the accelerated trial timetable might prompt such polling, a process Judge Chutkan assured she wouldn’t obstruct but would oversee to maintain the integrity of the jury pool.
This trial follows Smith’s investigation into Trump’s possible involvement in the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot and alleged 2020 election interference. Trump, indicted on August 1 based on findings from this probe, has pleaded not guilty to all related charges.
Apart from these charges, Trump also faces 37 felony counts from Smith’s classified records inquiry, to which he has similarly pleaded not guilty. Another superseding indictment from Smith added three more charges on July 27. A separate trial for these charges is slated for May 20, 2024, in Florida.
Meanwhile, President Biden is under scrutiny for purported mishandling of classified documents, though the progress of Special Counsel Robert Hur’s investigation remains undisclosed.