by WorldTribune Staff, August 28, 2023
Special Prosecutor Jack Smith had recommended a Jan. 2, 2024 starting date for the D.C. trial of former President Donald Trump which is expected to last four to six weeks.
The Trump legal team proposed an April 2026 start.
U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan on Monday set the trial for March 4, 2024, one day before 15 states vote in the GOP presidential primary on Super Tuesday.
Chutkan, an Obama appointee, said she would be “watching very carefully for anything which might poison the jury pool.”
Related: Jan. 6 judge warns former President Trump his First Amendment right is up to her , April 23, 2019
Republicans have said Trump can’t possibly get a fair trial in the Democrat-dominated District of Columbia, where 93 percent of voters cast their ballot for Joe Biden in 2020.
Reports say there was a brief discussion in the courtroom on Monday on whether the defense team planned on polling citizens of the District of Columbia in an effort to determine whether to submit a motion for a change of venue.
On Aug. 1, Trump was indicted on four federal charges out of Smith’s Jan. 6 investigation.
Trump pleaded not guilty to all charges, which included conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against rights.
The D.C. trial is one of three that has been scheduled for 2024 during the primary process, and a fourth in Georgia has yet to be scheduled but may also fall during the campaign season.
Trump is scheduled to go on trial March 25 in New York City over an alleged hush money scheme to cover up an affair in the lead-up to the 2016 election. That trial date would fall two days after the Louisiana primary and one week before the April 2 primaries in Delaware, New York, Rhode Island and Wisconsin.
Trump’s trial in Florida over his alleged retention of classified documents is scheduled for May 20. While that date may get moved as Trump’s team fights for delays, the current date would see the trial begin one day before Kentucky and Oregon hold their primaries.
Trump has said the “lawfare” offensive against him could keep him off the campaign trail.
During a rally earlier this month in New Hampshire, Trump said his legal cases would force him “to spend time and money away from the campaign trail.”
“I’m sorry, I won’t be able to go to Iowa today, I won’t be able to go to New Hampshire today, because I’m sitting in a courtroom on bullshit because his attorney general charged me with something,” Trump told the crowd. “Terrible.”