By the end of Monday, another piece could be put in place in the complicated jigsaw puzzle of the four criminal cases facing former President Donald J. Trump: A date could be chosen for Mr. Trump’s federal trial on charges of seeking to overturn the 2020 election.
At a hearing scheduled for Monday morning in Federal District Court in Washington, Judge Tanya S. Chutkan is set to consider — and may select — the date of the trial.
In dueling court papers filed this month, the government and Mr. Trump’s lawyers each proposed ambitious schedules for the trial, with prosecutors asking for the case to be put before a jury as early as Jan. 2 and the defense requesting that it be put off for more than two years, until April 2026. As Judge Chutkan considers the arguments, another legal proceeding related to Mr. Trump will be playing out on Monday in federal court in Atlanta, underscoring the complexity of bringing the charges against him to trial.
Fani T. Willis, the district attorney in Fulton County, Ga., recently proposed starting a trial in her case against Mr. Trump, on charges of tampering with the 2020 election in that state, in March. But that date remains somewhat uncertain not only because of the jockeying among prosecutors over the timing of the different cases, but also because some of Mr. Trump’s 18 co-defendants in the case have asked for the trial to start as early as this fall while others want to slow things down.
At the same time Judge Chutkan takes the bench in Washington, a federal judge in Atlanta will hold a hearing to determine if one of those co-defendants in the Georgia case, Mark Meadows, Mr. Trump’s final White House chief of staff, can remove his charges from the state judicial system and have them heard in federal court.
Mr. Meadows has argued that he is immune to the state charges because all of the acts underlying the accusations against him were performed as part of his official duties as a federal official. But prosecutors working for Ms. Willis have countered that the charges relate to Mr. Meadows’s political activities during a re-election campaign, which fall outside of his formal government responsibilities.
Mr. Meadows was on the line in January 2021, when Mr. Trump placed a call to Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state, asking him to “find” enough votes for Mr. Trump to win the election there. Prosecutors issued a subpoena last week to have Mr. Raffensperger, among others, testify at the hearing in Atlanta.
In most legal proceedings, the selection of a trial date is a largely mundane matter, depending on the number of defendants, the amount of evidence, and the schedules of the judge, prosecutors and defense lawyers.
But the timetables for Mr. Trump’s four trials have taken on outsize importance. That is not only because there are so many of them, each one needing a slot, but also because they are unfolding against Mr. Trump’s crowded calendar as the candidate leading the field for the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential nomination.
As a further complication, Mr. Trump has made no secret in private conversations with his aides of his desire to solve his jumble of legal problems by winning the election. If either of the two federal trials he is confronting is delayed until after the race and Mr. Trump prevails, he could seek to pardon himself after taking office or have his attorney general simply dismiss the matters altogether.
At Monday’s hearing in Washington on the federal election charges, Judge Chutkan has said she also intends to discuss a schedule for handling the small amount of classified material that may emerge as evidence in the case. If she ultimately agrees to the government’s request to start the trial in January, it would be the first of Mr. Trump’s four cases to be tested in a courtroom.
Prosecutors from the office of the special counsel, Jack Smith, brought the case early this month, filing an indictment against Mr. Trump in Washington after months of intense investigation. The indictment charges the former president with three overlapping conspiracies to defraud the United States, to obstruct the certification of the election during a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, 2021, and to deprive people of the rights to have their votes counted.
Another one of Mr. Trump’s trials, in which he has been charged with 34 felonies connected to hush money payments to a porn star in the run-up to the 2016 election, is set to start in March in a state court in Manhattan. Another, in which he stands accused of illegally retaining dozens of classified documents after leaving office, is set to go before a jury in Federal District Court in Fort Pierce, Fla., near the end of May.
Alan Feuer covers extremism and political violence. He joined The Times in 1999. More about Alan Feuer
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