Georgia prosecutor seeks March trial for Trump in election meddling case

Proposed date would have trial start a day before ‘Super Tuesday’, when more than a dozen states hold primaries to decide the next Republican presidential nominee.

epublican presidential candidate and former US President Donald Trump
Republican presidential candidate and former US President Donald Trump speaks as he campaigns at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, US, August 12, 2023 [File: Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters]

A prosecutor in the US state of Georgia has proposed a March start date for former President Donald Trump’s trial on charges of election interference.

Fani Willis, the Fulton County district attorney, said on Wednesday that she wants the trial to start on March 4 next year, a date that would have Trump in court mid-campaign for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

That proposed date would have the trial starting a day before “Super Tuesday”, during which voters in more than a dozen states – from California and Texas to Massachusetts and Maine – are set to cast their ballots for the Republican presidential nominee.

Trump is currently the frontrunner for the Republican nomination.

There was no immediate comment from Trump’s lawyers.

A Fulton County grand jury on Tuesday indicted Trump and 18 others, accusing the former president of seeking to undo his 2020 election loss in the state of Georgia to President Joe Biden. The indictment was the fourth criminal case to be brought against Trump and the second this month to allege that he tried to subvert the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Willis said in her filing that she selected the dates “in light of defendant Donald Trump’s other criminal and civil matters pending in the courts of our sister sovereigns”.

She said the timetable she has proposed would not conflict with those other courts’ already scheduled hearings and trial dates.

Willis has already set a deadline of noon on August 25 for all the defendants to turn themselves in at the Fulton County Jail to be booked. She also asked the judge on Wednesday for a first procedural hearing for the defendants – known as the arraignment – for the week of September 5.

Trump has denied wrongdoing in all four of the criminal cases against him.

His attorneys have argued in other criminal cases that any trial be scheduled after the November 2024 presidential election.

The former president, who has a packed courtroom calendar, is scheduled to stand trial in March in the state of New York involving dozens of charges of falsifying business records in connection with an alleged hush money payment to an adult film star.

He is also scheduled to stand trial in May in the federal case brought by special counsel Jack Smith alleging he illegally hoarded classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate and thwarted government efforts to return them.

Smith’s team is also seeking a January 2 trial date in the federal case over Trump’s efforts to overturn the election.

Trump’s attorneys face a Thursday deadline to propose their own trial date in that case.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in an interview with WNYC radio last month – before Trump was indicted in two other cases, including Georgia – that the various judges involved may “confer” about the schedules.

Public surveys meanwhile show the majority of people in the US are divided along party lines in their views on Trump and the criminal cases against him. An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll, conducted before the charges were filed in Georgia, showed that 53 percent of Americans approved of the federal indictment against Trump for his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.

Eighty-five percent of Democrats approved of the criminal charges brought in early August, compared with 47 percent of independents and 16 percent of Republicans, according to the poll.

The poll – conducted from August 10 to 14 and released on Wednesday – also found that 35 percent of Americans overall hold a favourable view of Trump while 62 percent view him unfavourably.

Source: News Agencies