U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan has set a trial date for former President Donald Trump’s election interference case, scheduling it for March 4, 2024.
This date falls during the Republican presidential primaries and the day before Super Tuesday, which could have significant implications for the 2024 presidential race.
The decision was reached after a hearing where arguments were presented by Trump’s legal team and federal prosecutors regarding the trial’s timing. Special counsel Jack Smith proposed a trial beginning in January, with jury selection starting in December 2023. In contrast, Trump’s defense team requested a delay until April 2026, which would place the trial after the next presidential election.
Judge Chutkan found both proposals unacceptable, emphasizing that Trump would need to prioritize the trial.
“These proposals are obviously very far apart,” Chutkan said Monday. “Neither of them is acceptable.”
She argued against Trump’s defense team’s claims of insufficient preparation time, pointing out that the public has been aware of the grand jury investigation since September 2022, and many witness identities have already been disclosed.
Trump faces four charges following a federal grand jury indictment in Washington, D.C.: conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction, and conspiracy against the right to vote and to have one’s vote counted. During his arraignment hearing in August, Trump pleaded not guilty to these charges.
Federal prosecutors argued for an early trial date to uphold the public’s strong interest in a speedy trial, particularly in light of Trump’s charges related to conspiring to overturn the 2020 election and obstructing the certification of its results.
Trump is also involved in three other criminal cases: state prosecutions in New York and Georgia, and a federal prosecution in Florida, all connected to his handling of classified documents. The New York trial is set to begin in March, while the Florida trial is scheduled for May. As for the Georgia case, the trial schedule remains undecided.
During the hearing, Judge Chutkan reiterated her previous warning to Trump regarding witness intimidation. She emphasized that while he has a First Amendment right to free speech, it is not absolute, especially in this context where she has received death threats related to the case.