Special counsel Jack Smith proposes Jan. 2 trial date for Trump’s 2020 election case

Special counsel Jack Smith holding a folder as he  stands between a lectern and the American and Justice Department flags
Special counsel Jack Smith, pictured Aug. 1 at the Justice Department, is seeking a Jan. 2 start date for former President Trump’s federal felony trial over alleged efforts to reverse his 2020 election loss.
(Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press)

Special counsel Jack Smith proposed a Jan. 2 trial date on Thursday in his prosecution of former President Trump on four felony charges related to Trump’s alleged efforts to stay in power after he lost the 2020 election.

Smith said his team will need four to six weeks to present its case at trial, according to a federal court filing. Trump has been charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, conspiracy against rights and obstruction of or attempting to obstruct an official proceeding. He pleaded not guilty Aug. 3.

“A January 2 trial date would vindicate the public’s strong interest in a speedy trial — an interest guaranteed by the Constitution and federal law in all cases, but of particular significance here, where the defendant, a former president, is charged with conspiring to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election, obstruct the certification of the election results, and discount citizens’ legitimate votes,” Smith said in the motion.


Trump’s legal team has until Aug. 17 to file its own brief with a proposed trial date and estimated trial length. U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan has indicated she plans to set the trial date during an Aug. 28 hearing.

Smith said in his filing that a speedy trial should be possible because of the public nature of the investigation and the televised investigation conducted by a U.S. House select committee last year.

“The defendant has a greater and more detailed understanding of the evidence supporting the charges against him at the outset of this criminal case than most defendants, and is ably advised by multiple attorneys, including some who have represented him in this matter for the last year,” Smith said in the filing.

Trump’s lawyers have pressed for the Justice Department to provide them with more information about the scope of evidence it will hand over as part of the discovery process.

Smith’s team has said it is prepared to provide the defense with the evidence as soon as both sides agree on a protective order outlining what information can be made public before the trial and who may access the evidence.

The issue could be resolved as soon as Friday morning. Chutkan has ordered prosecutors and Trump’s defense team to appear before her after they were unable to reach a consensus.