On Monday, the Justice Department rebuffed former President Donald Trump’s request to hold his Washington, D.C., trial in 2026.
The federal prosecutors — led by Special Counsel Jack Smith — instead proposed a trial date of Jan. 2, 2024.
Following the Capitol riot, the prosecutors charged Trump in federal court with conspiracy against rights, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding.
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In suggesting an April 2026 trial date, Trump’s lawyers demanded more time to review the evidence, and they objected to holding the trial one month before the GOP’s Iowa caucus.
“No major party presidential candidate has ever been charged while in the middle of a campaign—and certainly not by a Justice Department serving his opponent,” Trump’s defense attorneys wrote in a court filing Thursday, referring to President Joe Biden.
The defense also demanded more time to review the 11.5 million pages’ worth of evidence before the trial.
“If we were to print and stack 11.5 million pages of documents, with no gap between pages, at 200 pages per inch, the result would be a tower of paper stretching nearly 5,000 feet into the sky. That is taller than the Washington Monument, stacked on top of itself eight times, with nearly a million pages to spare,” Trump’s lawyer’s wrote, including a diagram.
“Assuming we could begin reviewing the documents today, we would need to proceed at a pace of 99,762 pages per day to finish the government’s initial production by its proposed date for jury selection. That is the entirety of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, cover to cover, 78 times a day, every day, from now until jury selection.”
On the other hand, prosecutors said Monday that those 11.5 million documents include duplicate pages, well-known information, and social media posts by Trump himself.
The prosecutors also encouraged the defense to use software commonly used by lawyers preparing for trial. Specifically, they told Trump to use his e-discovery vendor for “efficient keyword searching and relevancy tagging by multiple simultaneous users, as well as date filtering, deduplication, and threading.”
“The defendant’s proposed trial date, however, 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. 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,” the prosecutors concluded Monday in their six-page filing.
“In cases such as this one, the burden of reviewing discovery cannot be measured by page count alone, and comparisons to the height of the Washington Monument and the length of a Tolstoy novel 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.”
Trump is facing three other criminal cases: one in Georgia, one in New York, and one in Florida’s federal court.
Prosecutors called on the court to invoke the Speedy Trial Act, and they expressed a willingness to “to accommodate the hearing date in the Florida case.”
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However, in Monday’s court filing, the prosecutors failed to address Trump’s concerns about holding the trial in the middle of the campaign.
Ultimately, the federal district court in Washington, D.C., will decide the date… and whether it will come before or after the 2024 election.
The Horn editorial team and the Associated Press contributed to this article.