Prosecutors with special counsel Jack Smith’s team on Thursday asked a judge to set a January 2 trial date for former President Donald Trump in the case charging him with plotting to overturn his 2020 election loss, The Associated Press reported.
If US District Judge Tanya Chutkan agrees with prosecutors’ proposal, the case against Trump would open right before the anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the US Capitol.
The proposed date is also just under two weeks before the first votes are set to be cast in the Republican presidential race, with Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses scheduled for Jan. 15.
Prosecutors said in court papers that they want the case to move to trial swiftly in Washington’s federal court, setting up a likely battle with defense attorneys who have already suggested they will try slow things down. Smith’s team says the government’s case should take no longer than four to six weeks.
Trump’s lawyers have not submitted their proposed trial date. The judge is expected to set the date during a court hearing scheduled for August 28.
Trump was indicted last week with four felonies related to efforts overturn the results of the 2020 election: A conspiracy to defraud the United States "by using dishonesty, fraud and deceit to obstruct the nation’s process of collecting, counting, and certifying the results of the presidential election"; a conspiracy to impede the Jan. 6 congressional proceeding at which the collected results of the presidential election are counted and certified; a conspiracy against the right to vote and to have that vote counted; obstruction of, and attempt to obstruct and impede, the certification of the electoral vote.
The former President appeared at Washington’s federal courthouse last Thursday, where he pleaded not guilty.
Trump has already said he will push to have the 2020 election case moved out of Washington, claiming he can’t get a fair trial in the heavily Democratic city, which voted overwhelmingly for Biden.
In an early glimpse into the intense legal fighting to come in the case, prosecutors and defense attorneys have been arguing over a protective order that would place rules on what Trump’s legal team can do with evidence handed over by the government as they prepare for trial. Protective orders are not uncommon in criminal cases and are usually imposed with little legal wrangling.
Trump’s lawyers say prosecutors’ proposal — which seeks to prevent Trump and his lawyers from publicly disclosing evidence handed over by the government — is too broad and would restrict his First Amendment rights. They are urging the judge to impose a more limited protective order that would restrict only the public sharing of information deemed “sensitive,” like grand jury materials.
Chutkan is expected to hold a hearing on the matter on Friday in Washington’s federal court.