Donald Trump’s trial for allegedly plotting to overturn the 2020 US election results is set for the eve of Super Tuesday.
The former ‘Apprentice’ judge, 77, and 18 of his allies were indicted by a grand jury in Fulton County, and a judge has now said his court proceedings will start on 4 March on scores of charges including conspiracy to impersonate a public officer and two counts of conspiracy to commit forgery.
It puts the start date one day before Super Tuesday, a potentially decisive point in the race, when more than a dozen US states hold their presidential primaries.
Judge Tanya Chutkan denied Trump’s request to postpone the trial until 2026 and instead chose to place one of the biggest criminal cases in American history in the peak of the 2024 campaign.
Trump has pleaded not guilty to four charges, including conspiracy to defraud the United States, brought by special counsel Jack Smith, and which relate to the US Capitol riot on 6 January 2021 and other alleged efforts to overturn the result.
Trump has denied all wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty to all charges, which total more than 91 counts.
John Lauro, one of Trump’s lawyers, said during a heated hearing in Washington in which he battled to move the trial to 2026: “This man’s liberty and life is at stake and he deserves an adequate representation.”
Prosecutors have pushed for the trial to start as early as possible, citing Trump’s “near daily” posts about the case on social media which they say have included attacks on witnesses, “the integrity of the court” and of the “citizens of the District of Columbia”, which they added “potentially prejudices the jury pool”.
The trail date adds to a crowded schedule for the former US president as he campaigns to retake the White House from Joe Biden, 80, in 2024.
Trump already faces trials in New York related to hush money payments on 25 March and in Florida on 20 May over his handling of classified documents.
He has denied all wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty to all charges, which total more than 91 counts.