Trump seeks to delay federal election meddling trial until 2026

Trump seeks to delay federal election meddling trial until 2026

Proposal is at stark odds with Jan. 2 start date proposed by Justice Department attorneys; judge to make final decision

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) - Former US President Donald Trump's attorneys proposed late Thursday that their client not go on trial on federal election meddling for two-and-a-half years.

In a court filing with the US District Court for the District of Columbia, Trump's legal team proposed that the trial not begin until April 2026, a stark delay from the Jan. 2, 2024 start date proposed by Special Counsel Jack Smith's office last week.

US District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who asked both sides to present their preferred dates, will have the final say in the matter.

A decision is slated to come Aug. 28 as Trump faces federal charges of attempting to reverse the results of the 2020 election that he lost to Joe Biden by over 7 million votes. The criminal case is one of four brought against Trump since he left office.

The others involve concealing hush money payments to an adult film star, illegally retaining classified documents after he left office and attempting to thwart federal officials investigating the matter, and attempts to overturn Georgia's state election results.

The proposed 2026 date for Trump's federal elections case "will allow this case to proceed in an orderly fashion, with both parties having a fair opportunity to review all material information, advance appropriate motions, and apprise the Court of relevant legal issues," the attorneys wrote, citing the length of the investigation that led to the charges.

"The government’s objective is clear: to deny President Trump and his counsel a fair ability to prepare for trial. The Court should deny the government’s request," Trump's team wrote. "The public interest lies in justice and a fair trial, not a rush to judgment."

The former president was indicted on Aug. 2 by a federal grand jury in the Justice Department's long-standing probe into efforts to overturn the 2020 election, which culminated in the Jan. 6, 2021 assault on the US Capitol by Trump's supporters.

Trump has pleaded not guilty, and his lawyers are expected to argue that his comments of widespread election fraud were protected speech under the First Amendment to the Constitution and that he legitimately believed his claims.

But the indictment brought against Trump accuses him not simply of lying about the election results but engaging in a sweeping scheme to prevent the peaceful transfer of power.

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