Trump asks judge to schedule his federal election interference trial for 2026

The special counsel has asked for the trial to start this coming January.

August 17, 2023, 7:32 PM

Former President Donald Trump's legal team has requested that the judge overseeing his federal 2020 election interference case schedule his trial for April of 2026 -- more than two and a half years from now.

In contrast, special counsel Jack Smith last week requested D.C. district judge Tanya Chutkan schedule Trump's trial for this coming January, arguing it would "vindicate the public's strong interest" in a speedy trial.

"In this District, ordinary order when faced with such overwhelming discovery is to set a reasonable trial schedule, commensurate with the size and scope of discovery and complexity of the legal issues," Trump's attorneys argued in their filing Thursday.

"The government rejects this sensible approach. Instead, it seeks a trial calendar more rapid than most no-document misdemeanors, requesting just four months from the beginning of discovery to jury selection," they said in the filing. "The government's objective is clear: to deny President Trump and his counsel a fair ability to prepare for trial."

Chutkan will hear arguments from both sides at a status conference on Aug. 28.

Trump earlier this month pleaded not guilty to federal charges of undertaking a "criminal scheme" to overturn the results of the 2020 election by enlisting a slate of so-called "fake electors," using the Justice Department to conduct "sham election crime investigations," trying to enlist the vice president to "alter the election results," and promoting false claims of a stolen election as the Jan. 6 riot raged -- all in an effort to subvert democracy and remain in power.

The former president has denied all wrongdoing and denounced the charges as "a persecution of a political opponent."

PHOTO: In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, President Donald Trump arrives to speak to supporters from The Ellipse near the White House in Washington, D.C.
In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, President Donald Trump arrives to speak to supporters from The Ellipse near the White House in Washington, D.C.
Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images, FILE

Trump's filing Thursday set forth a series of dates stretching over the nearly three-year period, which they noted is "equal to the government's time spent investigating" the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol.

To illustrate the size of the vast volume of discovery at issue in the case, they said in the filing that after receiving the government's first production of roughly 11.5 million pages of evidence, they began trying to download the files -- but "two days later, it was still downloading."

They estimate that if they began reviewing the documents as of today, "we would need to proceed at a pace of 99,762 pages per day to finish the government's initial production by its proposed date for jury selection."

"That is the entirety of Tolstoy's War and Peace, cover to cover, 78 times a day, every day, from now until jury selection," Trump's lawyers wrote.

They even provided a graphic that they claimed shows the difference between a stack of papers 11.5 million pages high, compared to the heights of the Statue of Liberty and the Washington Monument -- with the size of the paper stack roughly ten times the height of the structures.

In seeking the 2026 start date, Trump's attorneys also cite Trump's busy legal calendar in the coming months as reason to delay scheduling his trial, including the special counsel's classified documents case, the Fulton County DA's election interference case in Georgia, and the Manhattan DA's hush money case.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges that have been brought, and has dismissed the probes as politically motivated.

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