Trump seeks 2026 trial date in Federal election case

A  photo of documents seized during the FBI search of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate. [AP Photo]

Lawyers for former President Donald Trump asked on Thursday for an April 2026 trial date in a Washington federal court, where he is charged with illegally trying to overturn his 2020 presidential election loss.

That would mean the trial would start after the November 2024 election.

Special counsel Jack Smith asked last week for a January 2, 2024, trial. Government prosecutors say it might take four to six weeks to present their case against the former president.

"The public interest lies in justice and fair trial, not a rush to judgment," Trump's attorneys wrote in their request.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan is expected to set a date at an August 28 hearing in Washington.

Georgia indictment

The former president is looking at the possibility that trials will fill his 2024 calendar while he seeks the Republican presidential nomination to reclaim the White House.

Trump has been indicted in four cases, most recently on Monday in Georgia where prosecutor Fani Willis has called for her 2020 election interference trial against Trump and 18 co-defendants to start March 4.

The trial date on the racketeering accusations against Trump will be set by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee, who was randomly assigned to hear the case in Atlanta, the capital of the southern state of Georgia. Trump's lawyers almost assuredly will ask for a much later date, quite possibly after the November presidential election.

But if McAfee accedes to the prosecutor's request for a March 4 start date, the trial would begin a day before what is known in the U.S. political world as Super Tuesday, when 14 states are holding political party presidential nominating elections. Trump will be on the Republican ballot against an array of opponents.

91 charges

Monday's indictment in Georgia was the fourth in about four months filed against the former U.S. leader. With his mounting legal peril, he could in the first half of 2024 be spending more days in courtrooms than campaigning across the country for president.

All of the trials Trump is facing are expected to last for weeks, and the former president, 77, would be required to sit quietly at defense tables in courtrooms as witnesses testify against him.

He has said that with four indictments, he is assured of capturing the White House again. His Republican political support, according to national polling, has held steady. But he has complained bitterly that the charges are designed to undermine his campaign.

In all, he is facing 91 charges, all of them felonies, across the four cases. If convicted, he could face years in prison, but he has denied any wrongdoing.

The trial date Willis proposed would conflict with another case in New York currently set for trial in late March, although the prosecutor there has signaled that he would be willing to move his case to another date.

In the New York case, Trump is accused of falsifying business records at his Trump Organization real estate conglomerate to hide a $130,000 hush money payment to a porn film actress ahead of his successful 2016 presidential campaign to keep her from talking about a one-night tryst she claims to have had with him a decade earlier. Trump has denied the affair occurred.

In late May, Trump is scheduled to stand trial in Florida on a 40-count indictment brought by Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith that accuses Trump of illegally hoarding highly sensitive national security documents at his oceanside Mar-a-Lago estate after he left the White House in January 2021.

Trump also is accused of conspiring with his personal valet and the property manager at Mar-a-Lago to keep from turning over the classified materials to federal investigators.