That means the trial is set to begin the day before Super Tuesday when 14 states, including delegate-rich Texas and California, hold their primaries.
US District Judge
Although January 2 would be too early, Chutkan said, Trump’s proposed trial date of April 2026 “far exceeds what is necessary.”
The judge said the two-year delay risked unavailability of witnesses and fading of memories. She said the public had the right to a “quick” resolution of the case.
Chutkan agreed to a request by Trump’s legal team to exclude the 25 days since his debut from the fast-track trial calendar.
Attorney General Molly Gaston said the government had already turned over the vast majority of evidence, totaling some 12.8 million pages, though she added that they did not believe this was the best measure of the defense’s workload.
Gaston said the evidence included a “road map” for the government’s case contained in an annotated copy of the indictment that matched the evidence with passages in the charge sheets. Gaston said this is part of a core set of 47,000 pages of “key documents” that have been handed over to the Trump team.
Trump’s lawyer, John Lauro, called the idea that they could go to trial in four months’ time “an affront to justice.” Raising his voice at times, he said they needed more time to prepare, and said the government’s suggestion that they might actually review material owned by government agencies — such as White House records with the National Archives — was “ridiculous and absurd.”
Chutkan at one point told Lauro to “lower the temperature”. She wondered why the preparation process had not been accelerated to produce the manuals electronically in a searchable format. Chutkan pressured Lauro to put the “discourses” aside and give a reasonable estimate of the time needed for preparation. Lauro replied that despite being able to perform electronic document searches, they still had an “enormous” amount of material to absorb, and said it would be unfair for Chutkan to consider whether they had started preparing before handing over the indictment.
Gaston said the judge should schedule as soon as the defense is “reasonably” ready because Trump’s online posts attacking the court’s integrity and Washington citizens risk harming a potential jury.
Determining the timelines for the four criminal cases the former president faces was an early source of conflict, especially as the presidential primary season begins. Trump’s trial is set to begin in late March on charges of falsifying business records in connection with secret payments to a porn star. Chutkan said she spoke to the judge in New York about the timeline in this case. He is scheduled to go to trial in May on federal charges of mishandling classified documents and conspiracy to obstruct government efforts to recover them.
In Atlanta, where Trump was recently indicted on government charges related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, his legal team is expected to oppose a request by the Fulton County District Attorney.
Trump has pleaded not guilty to the charges in all cases and has denounced them all as politically motivated attacks.
(Updates on Super Tuesday in second paragraph)
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