Special counsel Jack Smith has proposed that former President Trump stand trial in Washington, D.C., next Jan. 2, two weeks before the first votes in the Republican presidential primary will be cast in Iowa’s Jan. 15 caucuses. The proposed trial date on allegations that Trump conspired to overturn his 2020 election loss reflects the challenges he faces in juggling courtroom battles with campaign events as he seeks the Republican presidential nomination. Trump’s lawyers are likely to propose a later date to U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is holding a hearing Friday on rules about disclosing evidence, the Wall Street Journal reports. In a post on his Truth Social platform, Trump wrote: “Only an out-of-touch lunatic would ask for such a date, ONE DAY into the New Year, and maximum Election Interference with IOWA!” On Thursday, he pleaded not guilty to additional charges related to his retention of classified documents after he left the White House, the second time in a week that he formally denied prosecutors’ allegations against him. In her first hearing over Trump’s federal case., U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan said the “existence of a political campaign” will not have a bearing on her decisions. “If that means he can’t say exactly what he wants to say about witnesses in this case, then that’s how it’s going to be,” Chutkan said Friday, reports the Washington Post.
Trump faces 40 counts on seven different charges in the documents case, which is scheduled to go to trial in May 2024. Also facing charges in the Florida case are Trump’s aide, Walt Nauta, and Carlos de Oliveira, a maintenance worker at Mar-a-Lago. Nauta also pleaded not guilty Thursday to the superseding indictment. De Oliveira didn’t enter a plea Thursday because he hadn’t been able to secure a local attorney in time. In the documents case, the new indictment says Trump had a 24-minute phone call with de Oliveira on June 23, 2022, the day after a lawyer for the Trump Organization received a draft grand-jury subpoena requiring the production of Mar-a-Lago security-camera footage. A few days later, de Oliveira confronted a Mar-a-Lago staffer, identified in the indictment as the director of information technology at the resort, and told him that “the boss” wanted the footage deleted and asked, “What are we going to do?” The IT director told de Oliveira that he didn’t know how to delete the server and didn’t think he had the right to do that.