Judge Tanya Chutkan ruled Monday that Trump’s D.C.-based election meddling trial will begin on March 4, 2024, the day before key primary elections take place on Super Tuesday. The ruling moves the trial back several months from the Justice Department’s original date request, but far before the Trump team’s bid to delay the trial several years.
“You’re not going to get two more years. This case is not going to trial in 2026,” Chutkan told Trump’s attorneys.
“We will certainly abide by your honor’s ruling, as we must,” Trump’s attorney John Lauro told the judge after she handed down the ruling. He added that his team would “not be able to provide adequate representation” as “the trial date will deny President Trump the opportunity to have effective assistance of counsel.”
The former president responded on Truth Social with a furious rant against Smith and his team, as well as a promise to appeal Chutkan’s ruling.
“Deranged Jack Smith & his team of Thugs, who were caught going to the White House just prior to Indicting the 45th President of the United States (an absolute No No!), have been working on this Witch Hunt for almost 3 years, but decided to bring it smack in the middle of Crooked Joe Biden’s Political Opponent’s campaign against him. Election Interference! Today a biased, Trump Hating Judge gave me only a two month extension, just what our corrupt government wanted, SUPER TUESDAY. I will APPEAL!” Trump wrote.
Special Counsel Jack Smith charged the former president in early August on four counts related to his efforts to interfere with the results of the 2020 election. The charges include conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding, attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against rights.
The Justice Department initially proposed that Trump’s trial begin on Jan. 2, 2024. The former president’s attorneys argued that the DOJ had provided them with simply too much discovery evidence to be able to review it in time for the proposed date, and requested the trial be held in April of 2026.
Prosecutors ripped into the request in a response filing, calling data cited by the Trump team on average trial lengths a misrepresentation, and comparisons of the amount of evidence “to the height of the Washington Monument and the length of a Tolstoy novel” as “neither helpful nor insightful.”
During the hearing, Chutkan stated that neither the Justice Department’s nor Trump’s proposed dates were acceptable, but agreed that “the manner in which the discovery in this case has been organized indicates that the government has made a considerable effort to expedite review.”
At one point Chutkan cautioned Lauro to “take the temperature down” after he repeatedly raised his voice in the courtroom.
She went on to inform Trump’s legal team that their client’s professional schedule, be it a campaign or otherwise, would not have any bearing on her in-court decisions, and he would be treated with “no more or less deference than any defendant will be treated.”