Trump’s request for 2026 trial in election case based on ‘faulty’ logic, special counsel says

Special counsel Jack Smith speaks to members of the media at the US Department of Justice building in Washington, DC, on August 1, 2023.

Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

Special counsel Jack Smith argued Monday that there was no good reason why Donald Trump’s federal election interference trial should be delayed until spring of 2026, as the former president is requesting.

To set a trial more than two-and-a-half-years away “would deny the public its right to a speedy trial,” Smith wrote in a six-page filing in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

Trump’s filing “cites inapposite statistics and cases, overstates the amount of new and non-duplicative discovery, and exaggerates the challenge of reviewing it effectively,” the special counsel wrote.

Smith previously suggested Trump’s trial should start on Jan. 2.

Trump’s attorneys last week proposed an April 2026 trial date, arguing that they need that time in order to sift through millions of pages of complex discovery materials. Their court filing included a graphic purportedly showing that those discovery materials would stack up to more than times the height of the Washington Monument.

A graphic from a court filing from former President Donald Trump’s legal team proposing that the federal election interference trial start in April 2026.

Source: Fulton County Courthouse

Smith shot back in Monday’s filing that such comparisons “are neither helpful nor insightful.”

“In fact, comparisons such as those are a distraction from the issue at hand — which is determining what is required to prepare for trial,” he wrote.

The argument from Trump’s lawyers “rests on the faulty assertion that it is necessary for a lawyer to conduct a page-by-page review of discovery for a defendant to receive a fair trial,” Smith wrote. “But the defendant can, should, and apparently will adopt the benefits of electronic review to reduce the volume of material needed to be searched and manually reviewed.”

Former US President and 2024 presidential hopeful Donald Trump hits balls on the practice range ahead of the LIV Golf Invitational series tournament at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in Bedminster, New Jersey, on August 9, 2023.

Timothy A. Clary | AFP | Getty Images

Smith contended that millions of pages of materials sent to Trump’s team were provided out of an abundance of caution and should not require significant time to sift through.

Federal prosecutors also provided the defense with a set of key documents believed to be the most important for the case, the special counsel added.

Trump has pleaded not guilty in the case, which alleges he illegally conspiring to overturn his loss to President Joe Biden in the 2020 election. The case centers in large part on the events of the Jan. 6, 2021, storming of the U.S. Capitol by a mob of Trump’s supporters who bought his false claims of election fraud.

The case is one of two federal indictments against Trump stemming from investigations led by Smith.

Trump has also been indicted in Georgia on charges of trying to reverse his loss in that state’s 2020 election. The former president faces additional charges in Manhattan related to hush money payments made to a porn star who says she had an extramarital affair with him.

Trump had pleaded not guilty in the federal cases and the Manhattan case. He faces a Friday deadline to surrender in Georgia. A state judge in Atlanta set Trump’s bond at $200,000 earlier Monday afternoon.

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