Speed Reads

Trump on Trial

Trump gets March 2024 criminal trial date in New York, requests meeting with Garland in federal case

A judge in Manhattan on Tuesday set a March 25, 2024, start date for former President Donald Trump's criminal trial for allegedly falsifying business records to help his 2016 presidential campaign. New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan told Trump and his lawyer Todd Blanche during a 15-minute virtual hearing that the trial date won't be moved and that if Trump shares non-public evidence from the trial, including on social media, in violation of Merchan's protective order, he could face sanctions "up to a finding of contempt, which is punishable."

"Trump, whose microphone was muted at this point, appeared annoyed as he was put on notice of potential punishments," The Washington Post reports. He complained on social media after the hearing that Merchan was violating his First Amendment rights and scheduled his trial "right in the middle of primary season." The next scheduled court appearance in the case is January 2024.

Also on Tuesday, Trump lawyers John Rowley and James Trusty sent Attorney General Merrick Garland a letter requesting a meeting to "discuss the ongoing injustice that is being perpetrated" by special counsel Jack Smith, who is overseeing two other Trump cases. Smith's investigation into Trump's improper retention of highly classified documents and potential obstruction of government efforts to reclaim them appears to be wrapping up, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday evening, and "some of Trump's close associates are bracing for his indictment and anticipate being able to fundraise off a prosecution."

Trump posted the letter requesting a meeting with Garland shortly after the Journal published its report on the culmination of the classified documents investigation. Smith is also looking into Trump's involvement and potential culpability in efforts to overturn his loss to President Biden in the 2020 election. One of the authors of the letter to Garland, Tim Parlatore, told the Journal it was part of an effort to dissuade the attorney general from signing off on criminal charges against Trump. Parlatore recently withdrew from representing Trump in the case.

"Merrick Garland will not meet with Trusty or any of the other Trump lawyers," said Anthony Coley, Garland's former spokesman. "Jack Smith is running this investigation, not Merrick Garland."