Special counsel wants Jan. 2 trial in Trump election case

(COMBO) This combination of pictures created on August 5, 2023 shows special counsel Jack Smith in Washington, DC, on August 1, 2023 and former US President Donald Trump in Palm Beach, Florida, on November 8, 2022.

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Special counsel Jack Smith on Thursday proposed a Jan. 2 start date for former President Donald Trump’s trial on charges of attempting to overturn his loss in the 2020 presidential election.

Smith in a court filing in Washington, D.C., federal court argued that that trial date would “vindicate the public’s strong interest in a speedy trial.”

That interest is “of particular significance” in a case involving an ex-president accused of conspiring to subvert a democratic election “and discount citizens’ legitimate votes,” Smith wrote in the eight-page filing.

Smith’s office estimated that its case would take no longer than four to six weeks to present to jurors.

The court filing also said that Smith expects to have “substantially completed” the production of evidence to be turned over to Trump by Aug. 28.

The proposed timeline would start the D.C. trial more than five months before jury selection begins in Trump’s other federal case in Miami, which centers on his alleged mishandling of classified documents after leaving the White House in 2021.

Trump has pleaded not guilty in both cases. His legal team previously proposed that the Florida case should not head to trial before the 2024 presidential election, where Trump hopes to compete as the Republican nominee.

The first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses are scheduled for Jan. 15.

Smith said in Thursday’s filing that despite suggestions by Trump’s lawyers that the federal Speedy Trial Act is only intended to protect a defendant’s rights, both that law and the U.S. Constitution vests the right to a quick trial “in the public, not just the defendant.”

“The Government is prepared at this moment to produce to the defendant the majority of discovery in this case, including materials that exceed its obligations,” the filing said.

That material includes grand jury transcripts, witness interviews, evidence obtained through search warrants and documents from the special House committee that investigated the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, Smith said.

“The Government’s proposed trial date represents an appropriate balance of the defendant’s
right to prepare a defense and the public’s strong interest in a speedy trial in the case,” he wrote.

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