OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Special Counsel Jack Smith has made a request of the judge overseeing former President Donald Trump’s criminal trial in Washington DC.
On Thursday the special counsel requested a trial date of January 2, 2024, right before the Republican presidential primaries, that he said could be done within four to six weeks, Fox News reported.
“The Government proposes that trial begin on January 2, 2024, and estimates that its case in chief will take no longer than four to six weeks,” he said in the filing with the court.
“A January 2 trial date would vindicate the public’s strong interest in a speedy trial — an 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,” he said.
The date is a mere two weeks before the first votes are set to be cast for the Republican presidential nomination in Iowa.
The former president was furious when he heard the news and responded in a post on his Truth Social account.
“Deranged Jack Smith has just asked for a trial on the Biden Indictment to take place on January 2nd., just ahead of the important Iowa Caucuses. Only an out of touch lunatic would ask for such a date, ONE DAY into the New Year, and maximum Election Interference with IOWA! Such a trial, which should never take place due to my First Amendment Rights, and massive BIDEN CORRUPTION, should only happen, if at all, AFTER THE ELECTION. The same with other Fake Biden Indictments. ELECTION INTERFERENCE!” he said.
Trump appeared ready to defy a court order sought by special counsel Jack Smith that would limit what he could say publicly about his Jan. 6 case.
On Tuesday, Trump pledged that he “will talk” about the criminal charges he is now facing over allegations he attempted to overturn the 2020 election, accusing federal prosecutors of “taking away my First Amendment rights,” as NBC News reported.
The outlet added:
Last week, Special Counsel Jack Smith asked U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan to impose a so-called protective order that would prevent Trump from disclosing evidence the government turns over to his lawyers as part of the discovery process.
Trump’s own lawyers chose not to object to a protective order and instead requested that the judge put in place a version that is “less restrictive” than the one proposed by the government. Trump’s lawyers asked Chutkan to shield only “genuinely sensitive materials” in order to protect his rights.
But Trump is fighting on multiple fronts as he tries to beat three indictments and win back the presidency. On Tuesday, when he chided prosecutors and President Joe Biden, Trump was battling in the political arena at a rally here.
Trump said President Joe Biden “wants the thug prosecutor, this deranged guy, to file a court order taking away my First Amendment rights so that I can’t speak,” to a raucous crowd in Windham, N.H.
He said not answering questions from the media about the case is “not good for votes” as he angles for a rematch with Biden next year.
“I will talk about it, I will,” he said. “They’re not taking away my First Amendment rights.”
Apart from the federal charges linked to the 2020 election, Trump is facing indictments in state court in New York and federal court in Florida. Additionally, the possibility of state charges in Georgia, where he attempted to contest his loss in the 2020 state election, also looms over him.
Chutkan on Monday rejected a plea from the former president’s legal team to move a hearing on the possible protective order past the Friday deadline she had set, Mediaite reported.
Special Counsel Jack Smith’s team said that they were prepared for a hearing any day this week, but Trump’s attorneys said they were busy and asked for a delay.
“President Trump will not appear. However, he would like to have both his counsel John Lauro and Todd Blanche at the hearing. Todd Blanche is not available on Thursday, since he must appear for a court proceeding in the prosecution brought against the same defendant, President Trump, by the Special Counsel in SD Florida. Mr. Lauro is available on Thursday, with a preference for an afternoon setting. However, since we lost Friday as an option, we would respectfully request a setting on Monday (after 12:00 p.m.) or Tuesday (all day) to allow for both Mr. Blanche and Mr. Lauro to be present,” Trump’s attorneys said in their plea.