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Trump’s federal election interference case gets a March 4, 2024 trial date | CBC News

A federal judge has set a March 4, 2024 trial date for former U.S. president Donald Trump in the case where he is accused of plotting to overturn results of the last presidential election.

Trump’s lawyers, citing the time they say is needed to review 11.5 million pages of documents they’ve received from prosecutors, have asked for a trial in April 2026 — about a year and a half after the presidential election.

Federal prosecutors had proposed a Jan. 2 trial in federal court in Washington, D.C.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan told lawyers at the outset of the court appearance that neither of those dates was acceptable.

“The public has a right to a prompt and efficient resolution of this matter,” Chutkan said upon setting the date.

WATCH l Breaking down Trump’s 4 criminal indictments:

All Trump’s indictments explained: Why Georgia is charging him like a ‘mob boss’ | About That

Former U.S. president Donald Trump is facing criminal charges for the fourth time, after a Georgia grand jury issued a sweeping indictment accusing him of trying to overturn his 2020 election loss to Joe Biden and accusing him of running a ‘criminal enterprise.’ Andrew Chang explains all the charges, and why the latest are so significant.

The setting of the trial date came despite strong objections from Trump lawyer John Lauro. In addition to the trove of documents that need to be analyzed, he argued that the case concerned novel legal issues that would require significant time to sort out.

“This is one of the most unique cases from a legal perspective ever brought in the history of the United States. Ever,” Lauro said.

Prosecutor Molly Gaston countered that the public had an unquestionable interest in moving the case forward and said that the general evidence in the case has long been well known to the defence.

“What is the balance of the defendant’s right and need to prepare for trial and, on the other hand, the public’s exceedingly and unprecedently strong interest in a speedy trial?” Gaston said. There was an “incredibly strong public interest” in the case, she said, because Trump is accused of “attempting to overturn an election and disenfranchise millions.”

The indictment handed down earlier this month in the case charges Trump with four felony counts related to his efforts to undo his 2020 election loss, including conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government and conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding. The charges could lead to a years-long prison sentence in the event of a conviction.

Busy slate of trials, primaries

Trump faces four criminal indictments, all handed down since March but all stemming from investigations that began long before he announced last November he plans to run for president in 2024. Trump has slammed each of the prosecutions, declaring his innocence in each instance.

He faces a New York state trial beginning on March 25, 2024, involving allegations of the falsification of business records in connection with hush money payments to three individuals, including two women who said they had extramarital affairs with Trump.

On May 20 of next year, a federal trial is slated to begin in a case where Trump faces Espionage Act and other charges related to accusation he unlawfully retained government documents, most of them classified and some designated as top secret. As with the federal election interference case, it is being overseen by special counsel Jack Smith under the aegis of the Justice Department.

Last week, Trump surrendered on charges filed by a Georgia prosecutor accusing him of illegally scheming to overturn the 2020 election result in that state. The brisk 20-minute booking led to a historic first: a mug shot of a former U.S. president.

A trial date has not been set in that case, but a court docket for the case on Monday indicated his formal arraignment will take place Sept. 6.

All told, Trump faces 91 felony counts in the four criminal indictments, with the three trial dates set so far competing for his time as Republican primaries pick up steam beginning in February, with Super Tuesday — the busiest day of the primary schedule — taking place on March 5.

In each case, a jury will need to be selected, a potentially lengthy process given public awareness of Trump’s legal exposure and presidential campaign. Trump in social media posts and in speeches has repeatedly invoked his criminal cases, often lashing out at the individual prosecutors involved. He has also raised funds from supporters after each indictment.

Apart from the criminal cases, Trump is also due to face trial in October in a civil case in New York that accuses him and his family business of fraud to obtain better terms from lenders and insurers.

In addition, a trial is scheduled for Jan. 15 on a second defamation lawsuit filed by columnist E. Jean Carroll, who has alleged Trump sexually assaulted her in the mid-1990s.

Trump has wide leads over other Republican candidates in national and state polling so far, and he skipped out on the first debate last week in the race. But multiple polls have indicated that he could bleed significant support even from Republican voters were he to be convicted in any of the criminal cases.

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