Special counsel Jack Smith on Monday explained why Donald Trump’s arguments for holding his 2020 election interference trial in April 2026 don’t hold up to scrutiny.
Trump’s legal team has claimed Smith’s request for a January 2024 start date to the case brought after a federal investigation is meant to undercut Trump’s ability to prepare a defense and has urged the judge to reject it.
But Smith, in a new court filing, claims Trump is overlooking “important underlying facts and context.”
“In service of a proposed trial date in 2026 that would deny the public its right to a speedy trial, the defendant cites inapposite statistics and cases, overstates the amount of new and non-duplicative discovery, and exaggerates the challenge of reviewing it effectively,” Smith said.
Earlier this month, prosecutors submitted their proposal for the proceeding to commence on Jan. 2, 2024, with jury selection slated for Dec. 11. They estimated the trial would take up to six weeks, adding that this timetable “would vindicate the public’s strong interest in a speedy trial,” given the nature of the charges.
Yet Trump’s lawyers claimed this would be far too soon, citing the volume of the discovery.
Gregory Singer, one of his attorneys, said they would have 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,” claiming that that would be the equivalent of reading “Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace,’ cover to cover, 78 times a day, every day, from now until jury selection.”
But Smith said the government gave Trump’s team the discovery in a searchable electronic database with the understanding that the defense would review the documents electronically “consistent with modern standard practice.”
“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,” Smith said.
Trump was indicted earlier this month in Washington, D.C., on four charges, including conspiracy to defraud the United States, over his efforts to undo the 2020 election. He has pleaded not guilty.
The former president is also facing three more indictments: over his alleged mishandling of classified documents after leaving the White House in another case overseen by Smith, for a plot to undo Joe Biden’s 2020 election win in Georgia, and over his role in a hush money payment scheme involving adult film star Stormy Daniels.