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Donald Trump

Trump, special counsel poised to clash over trial date in D.C. election case

The federal judge presiding over Donald Trump’s criminal election interference case is expected to decide at a hearing Monday whether the top Republican presidential candidate will go to trial before or after the 2024 election.

Special counsel Jack Smith, who is leading Trump’s prosecution in two separate federal cases, proposed that the trial in Washington, D.C., district court should head to trial on Jan. 2.

But Trump’s attorneys argued that the pre-trial schedule should be stretched out by more than two-and-a-half years.

Federal Judge Tanya Chutkan is set to hear arguments from both parties during the 10 a.m. ET status conference. The hearing will also address the federal procedures for handling the “small amount of classified information” that the government said it has identified in the case.

Trump’s appearance at the hearing has been waived. The former president earlier this month pleaded not guilty to the four-count indictment charging him with illegally conspiring to overturn his loss to President Joe Biden in the 2020 election.

Smith, in a filing last week, urged the judge to reject Trump’s bid for an April 2026 trial date, arguing that it would “deny the public its right to a speedy trial.”

The special counsel accused Trump’s lawyers of exaggerating the amount of evidence that they will have to sift through and making unhelpful comparisons, such as claiming that the number of pages of discovery material would stack up nearly 5,000 feet high.

But Trump’s team has said that its estimates are conservative. Under Smith’s proposed schedule, they would have to review nearly 100,000 pages of potential evidence per day — an impossible task, they argued.

Trump has already lashed out at the special counsel as an “out of touch lunatic” for asking for a trial date that would likely overlap with the Iowa caucuses, which are scheduled for Jan. 15.

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Trump is currently the clear frontrunner in polls of the Republican presidential primary race. He has claimed without evidence that his four criminal cases are part of a conspiracy to undermine his candidacy for the 2024 race. Trump has repeatedly claimed to be the victim of “election interference,” which is essentially what he is accused of in D.C. and another state-level criminal case in Georgia.

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