Judge schedules Trump federal election plot trial for crowded March 2024

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., on Monday set a March 4, 2024, start date for the federal trial of former President Donald Trump on charges tied to his efforts to overturn his 2020 election defeat.

March 4 is two months after the Jan. 2 date requested by prosecutors in special counsel Jack Smith's office and two years before the April 2026 date suggested by Trump's lawyers. It is also the day before Super Tuesday, when 14 states hold presidential primaries. Trump is the current front-runner for the Republican nomination.

The scheduled start of Trump's trial also falls amid a tangle of court dates in Trump's three other criminal trials. His second federal trial, in Florida on charges of illegally retaining national security secrets, is tentatively scheduled for May 20, 2024. Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis also suggested March 4 as the start to Trump's election tampering conspiracy trial there, and a New York judge set Trump's hush-money trial for March 25.

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Trump "will be treated with no more or less deference than any other defendant," and "like any defendant, will have to make the trial date work regardless of his schedule," U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan said Monday. "If this case involved a professional athlete, it would be inappropriate to schedule a trial to accommodate her schedule."

After Chutkan set the March 4 date, "Trump said in a social media post that he would appeal," though "scheduling decisions are not generally subject to challenges to higher courts before a conviction is returned," The New York Times reported. "Trump can't appeal the trial date," The Wall Street Journal noted, "but he can seek to delay it through pretrial motions, which his lawyers have signaled they intend to do."

Trump "has made no secret in conversations with his aides that he would like to solve his uniquely complicated legal woes by winning the election," the Times added.

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at TheWeek.com, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.