Lawyers for Donald Trump asked the judge in Washington DC overseeing his federal election interference trial to push back the start date to April 2026, almost 18 months after the next presidential election and more than two years from the trial date proposed by the US government.
The former president’s legal team filed the request to the US district court judge Tanya Chutkan, after Trump was indicted earlier this month on charges that he conspired to defraud the United States, conspired to obstruct an official proceeding, obstructed an official proceeding and engaged in a conspiracy against rights.
Federal prosecutors in the office of the special counsel Jack Smith had proposed to schedule the trial for the start of January 2024, saying there was a significant public interest in expediting the prosecution.
“A January 2 trial date would vindicate the public’s strong interest in a speedy trial,” prosecutors wrote, adding: “It is difficult to imagine a public interest stronger than the one in this case in which the defendant – the former president of the United States – is charged with three criminal conspiracies.”
In their court filing on Thursday, Trump’s attorneys argued a years-long delay was necessary due to the “massive” amount of information they will have to review and because of scheduling conflicts with the other criminal cases Trump is facing.
“If we were to print and stack 11.5 million pages of documents, with no gap between pages, at 200 pages per inch, the result would be a tower of paper stretching nearly 5,000 feet into the sky. That is taller than the Washington Monument stacked on top of itself eight times, with nearly a million pages to spare,” Trump’s team wrote.
In their 16-page filing, the lawyers also argued that putting Trump, who is a candidate for the 2024 Republican nomination in a bid to reclaim the White House, on trial this coming January would mark a “rush to trial”.
They argue that would violate his constitutional rights and be “flatly impossible”, adding: “The government’s objective is clear: to deny President Trump and his counsel a fair ability to prepare for trial.”
Chutkan has said she wants to set a trial date at her next scheduled hearing on 28 August.
Twice impeached and now indicted in four cases, Trump faces criminal charges in New York, Florida, Washington DC and Georgia over a hush-money scheme during the 2016 election, his alleged mishandling of classified documents and his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
He also faces a civil trial beginning this October in the investigation into his business interests led by the New York attorney general, Letitia James.
And on Friday, the New York judge Lewis Kaplan declared that Trump had filed a “frivolous” appeal against his decision not to dismiss the first of writer E Jean Carroll’s two defamation lawsuits against him. She is seeking $10m and a jury in May found him liable for sexual abuse and defamation of Carroll in 1996, awarding her $5m in damages.
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