Prosecutors seek January 2 trial date for Trump in 2020 election conspiracy case

Prosecutors with special counsel Jack Smith’s team asked a judge on Thursday to set a Jan. 2 trial date for former President Donald Trump in the case charging him with plotting to overturn his 2020 election loss.

If US District Judge Tanya Chutkan agrees with prosecutors’ proposal, the case against the early front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential primary would open right before the anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the US Capitol, which was fueled by Trump’s false claims about the election.

The proposed date is also just under two weeks before the first votes are set to be cast in the Republican presidential race, with Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses scheduled for Jan. 15.

Trump reacted angrily to the proposed trial date on his Truth Social platform. “Only an out-of-touch lunatic would ask for such a date, ONE DAY into the New Year, and maximum Election Interference with IOWA!” he wrote Thursday night.

Prosecutors said in court papers that they want the case to move to trial swiftly in Washington’s federal court, setting up a likely battle with defense attorneys who have already suggested they will try to slow things down. Smith’s team says the government’s case should take no longer than four to six weeks.

“A January 2 trial date would vindicate the public’s strong interest in a speedy trial and interest guaranteed by the Constitution and federal law in all cases, but of particular significance here, where the defendant, a former president, is charged with conspiring to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election, obstruct the certification of the election results, and discount citizens’ legitimate votes,” prosecutors wrote.

Trump’s lawyers have not submitted their proposed trial date. The judge is expected to set the date during a court hearing scheduled for Aug. 28.

Trump is already scheduled to be in a courtroom in the heat of next year’s presidential primary season, with a March 25 criminal trial scheduled in a separate case in New York stemming from hush money payments made during the 2016 campaign. The former president is scheduled to go to trial in May in another case brought by Smith over his handling of classified documents found at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.

Trump faces charges including conspiracy to defraud the United States for what prosecutors say was a weekslong plot to subvert the will of voters and cling to power after he lost the 2020 election to Democrat Joe Biden.