Here is some of the legal news making the headlines this week:
A federal judge scheduled former President Donald Trump’s election interference federal trial in D.C. for March 2024.
- In recent court filings, special counsel Jack Smith asked federal district court Judge Tanya Chutkan to schedule the trial for January 2, 2024, while Trump requested that the trial be pushed to April 2026.
- During a hearing on the matter, Chutkan said that Trump’s proposed 2026 date was “far beyond what is necessary,” but that Smith’s proposed timeline “does not give the defense enough time to prepare for trial.”
- Ultimately, Chutkan set the trial to start on March 4, 2024 — one day before “Super Tuesday,” which features Republican presidential primary votes in more than a dozen states. Chutkan said that she is mindful of the conflicts, but “Mr. Trump, like any defendant, will have to make the trial date work regardless of his schedule.”
Some of Trump’s co-defendants in the Georgia criminal case are seeking to transfer the proceedings to federal court and expedite the trial.
- On trial timing, some defendants are seeking an expedited trial schedule, while Trump appears to prefer delaying the proceedings. Kenneth Chesebro, a lawyer who worked for Trump after the 2020 election, invoked his right to a speedy trial, and the judge overseeing the matter scheduled it to start on October 23. Another former Trump lawyer, Sidney Powell, also filed a demand for a speedy trial. Lawyer John Eastman is expected to follow suit. In a court filing, Trump signaled that he opposes the speedy trial schedule, and will seek to sever his case from defendants seeking to expedite the trial process.
- On trial venue, a number of Trump’s co-defendants are seeking to transfer the case to federal court in Georgia. Former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows was the first co-defendant to request removal of the case to federal court. At a hearing this week, Meadows testified that he believed all of his conduct mentioned in the indictment fell under the scope of his duties as chief of staff. From the witness stand, Meadows said, “It was a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week kind of job.” In addition to Meadows, four other Trump co-defendants have requested removal, including former Trump DOJ official Jeff Clark and three alleged fake electors. Many legal experts expect Trump to follow suit, but he might be waiting to see the results of the other five defendants’ efforts to remove the case, since under Georgia law, the judge’s decision could impact all defendants in the case and require transferring the case against all defendants to federal court.
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