A federal judge on Monday set a date of March 4, 2024, for Donald Trump’s election subversion conspiracy trial — placing one of the biggest criminal cases in American history at peak election season.
The date is the day before “Super Tuesday,” when more than a dozen states vote in the Republican primary contest to pick the party’s candidate for the 2024 election — with Trump the firm favorite to secure the nomination.
Special counsel Jack Smith had asked for the trial of the 45th US president to begin on January 2, while Trump’s attorneys countered with a proposed date of April 2026 — 17 months after the election.
“Setting a trial date does not depend on the defendant’s professional obligations so Mr Trump will have to make a date work,” US District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan said after admonishing the defense that a two-year delay was too long.
The decision could have a pivotal impact on Trump’s hopes of recapturing the White House.
He took to his social network, Truth Social, to demand that the case be dismissed, calling Smith “deranged” and accusing President Joe Biden of sowing “division, anger, and hatred.”
“It will only get worse because these deranged lunatics know no bounds. Someday, however, Sanity will again prevail,” he posted as Chutkan began hearing arguments at a federal courthouse in Washington.
Trump entered a not guilty plea to the allegations during an early August court appearance, so he was exempt from appearing at the procedural hearing on Monday.
Four criminal indictments have been issued against the 77-year-old this year: two by Smith and one each by state prosecutors in New York and Georgia.