US Special Counsel Jack Smith’s office has requested that the criminal trial of former president Donald Trump begin on January 2, despite objections from Trump himself. Smith argues that this timeline will provide enough time for Trump’s legal team to prepare for the trial, while Trump claims that Smith is “deranged” and attempting to interfere with his campaign for the presidency.
In a court filing submitted on Thursday, Smith’s office proposed that jury selection take place on December 11, followed by the start of the trial three weeks later. The filing states that this schedule is in the public’s interest and the interests of justice, while still allowing the defense adequate time to prepare. Smith’s team estimates that it will take them between four and six weeks to present their case against the former president. If the court agrees to these dates, the trial could overlap with the Iowa caucuses, an important event in the electoral campaign where Republicans in the state will choose their preferred candidate for the 2024 election.
Trump has previously criticized Smith and accused him of being “deranged.” He believes that the case against him is a politically motivated attempt by President Joe Biden’s Justice Department to eliminate his strongest political rival. Trump took to his Truth Social platform to voice his concerns, stating that his political opponent is going “crazy” trying to infringe on his campaign for president and describing the current state of America as “dark days.”
Smith charged Trump earlier this month with conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against rights. These charges stem from Trump’s alleged efforts to prevent the certification of Biden’s victory in the 2020 election, which led to the riot on Capitol Hill on January 6, 2021. During the riot, one of Trump’s supporters was shot and killed by a police officer.
Trump pleaded not guilty to all four charges and vowed to investigate Biden if elected, accusing him of “crooked acts,” including accepting bribes from China and other foreign countries. Smith also indicted Trump in June for alleged mishandling of classified documents, charging him with 32 counts under the Espionage Act. Trump has pleaded not guilty to these charges as well and criticized the Justice Department and FBI as “cowards,” “fascists,” and “thugs” following a raid on his Florida estate to retrieve the documents.
The proposed trial date creates a conflict with the Iowa caucuses, an event that holds significant importance for Republican candidates. If the trial does proceed as requested, it could impact the ability of Trump and his campaign to participate fully in the caucus process. As the legal battle continues, the nation will be watching closely to see how it unfolds and what impact it may have on the upcoming 2024 presidential election.