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March trial date set federal election interference case

By Eric Tucker, Lindsay Whitehurst and Michael Kunzelman | Related Press

WASHINGTON — A choose on Monday set a March 4, 2024, trial date for Donald Trump within the federal case in Washington charging the previous president with attempting to overturn the outcomes of the 2020 election, rejecting a protection request to push again the case by years.

U.S. District Choose Tanya Chutkan rebuffed claims by Trump’s attorneys that an April 2026 trial date was essential to account for the massive quantity of proof they are saying they’re reviewing and to arrange for what they contend is a novel and unprecedented prosecution. However she agreed to postpone the trial barely past the January 2024 date proposed by particular counsel Jack Smith’s prosecution staff.

“The general public has a proper to a immediate and environment friendly decision of this matter,” Chutkan mentioned.

If the present date holds, it could symbolize a setback to Trump’s efforts to push the case again till nicely after the 2024 presidential election, a contest through which he’s the early front-runner for the Republican nomination. The March 2024 date would additionally assure a blockbuster trial within the nation’s capitol within the warmth of the GOP presidential nominating calendar, doubtless forcing Trump to juggle marketing campaign and courtroom appearances, and it could come the day earlier than Tremendous Tuesday — an important voting day when the most important variety of delegates are up for grabs.

“I wish to notice right here that setting a trial date doesn’t rely and shouldn’t rely upon the defendant’s private or skilled obligations,” Chutkan mentioned.

The setting of the trial date got here regardless of sturdy objections from Trump lawyer John Lauro. He mentioned protection legal professionals had obtained an infinite trove of data from Smith’s staff — a prosecutor put the whole at greater than 12 million pages — and that the case involved novel authorized points that may require vital time to kind out.

“This is without doubt one of the most original instances from a authorized perspective ever introduced within the historical past of america. Ever,” Lauro mentioned.

Prosecutor Molly Gaston countered that the general public had an unquestionable curiosity in shifting the case ahead and mentioned that the overall proof within the case has lengthy been well-known to the protection.

“What’s the steadiness of the defendant’s proper and want to arrange for trial and, alternatively, the general public’s exceedingly and unprecedently sturdy curiosity in a speedy trial?” Gaston mentioned. Trump, she mentioned, is accused of “trying to overturn an election and disenfranchise hundreds of thousands.”

“There’s an extremely sturdy public curiosity in a jury’s full consideration of these claims in open court docket,” Gaston mentioned.

Trump, a Republican, was charged earlier this month in a four-count indictment with scheming to undo his loss to Joe Biden, a Democrat, within the 2020 election.

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