Special Counsel Jack Smith is proposing that the trial for Donald Trump’s Jan. 6 case begin on Jan. 2, 2024 — a proposal that, if granted by the judge, could mean that it would be the first of Trump’s three current criminal cases to go to trial.
The proposed trial date would not only “give the defendant time to review the discovery in this case and prepare a defense,” but also “vindicate the public’s strong interest in a speedy trial,” Smith’s office argues in a document filed on Thursday.
The special counsel also added that the government estimates that the case “will take no longer than four to six weeks.”
The need for a speedy trial is “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,” Smith’s team wrote in the eight-page document.
A Jan. 2 trial date would mean that the Department of Justice would take the Jan. 6 case to trial before their Mar-a-Lago classified documents case — which is scheduled for May 2024. It would likely also come before Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s case, in which Trump is charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records. That case is currently scheduled to go to trial in March 2024, and Bragg — who hit Trump with the indictment in April — has previously indicated that he would yield to Smith’s cases. “Ultimately, the judge sets the schedule and we will follow the court’s lead, but we’ll take a broad look at what justice requires,” Bragg told New York public radio station WNYC in July.
Trump may be indicted a fourth time, in Georgia. That indictment, if it comes, is expected in the next few weeks.
Trump’s legal team will almost certainly object toSmith’s proposal for an early January trial date.
The government acknowledged that expectation in its Thursday filing, saying that the defense counsel argued during the initial appearance hearing on Aug. 3 “that a principal reason for delaying trial in this matter is the defendant’s need to review discovery.”
Smith’s office pushed back on this argument, laying out that the government “has gone to great lengths to organize materials for the defendant to assist him in his review.”
Trump and his lawyers will have five months to review these materials, Smith’s team said.
“Indeed, assuming that a protective order is entered in the interim, by the time of the Court’s hearing on August 28, 2023, the Government expects that its production of discoverable materials already in the Government’s possession will be substantially complete,” the special counsel’s office wrote.
The special counsel also called the Trump team’s argument — that the government had years to put together a case while the defense is starting with a blank slate, reacting to the indictment — “disingenuous.”
“The defendant has been aware of — and has responded forcefully in opposition to — certain relevant information made public through hearings and the report written by the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol,” Smith’s office wrote, revealing that his team first made contact with Trump’s lawyers on the Jan. 6 case in June 2022.
“In sum, the defendant has a greater and more detailed understanding of the evidence supporting the charges against him at the outset of this criminal case than most defendants, and is ably advised by multiple attorneys, including some who have represented him in this matter for the last year,” his office wrote.
Read the court document here: