U.S. judge sets hearing on evidence in Trump's 2020 election case



A federal judge presiding over former U.S. President Donald Trump's trial on charges of trying to overturn the 2020 election has ordered his attorneys and federal prosecutors to appear in court on Friday for a hearing to help determine how evidence can be used and shared in the case.

U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan set the hearing for Friday at 10 a.m. ET (1400 GMT), shortly after Trump's attorneys and members of U.S. Special Counsel Jack Smith's office had clashed in a joint court over when to schedule the proceeding.

Prosecutors had said they were available all week, while Trump's lawyers had asked for a postponement until early next week.

Friday's hearing comes after Trump's defense team on Monday opposed a request from prosecutors for Chutkan to impose a protective order to ensure confidential evidence is not shared publicly by Trump, suggesting he could use the information to intimidate witnesses. Trump has pleaded not guilty and called the charges politically motivated.

Trump's attorneys said limits would infringe on his right to free speech, protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The twice-impeached Trump was indicted on Tuesday last week over his efforts to overturn the election that culminated in the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, which was linked to deaths of four of his supporters.

The case is the most serious of four criminal probes that have yielded dozens of felony charges, including allegations that Trump covered up hush money payments to a porn star and that he endangered national security by storing classified documents at his beach club in Florida.

So far he has criminal trials starting in March and May next year – the height of the election campaign.

A trial date will be set within days in his election interference case, and Trump is expecting further charges next week over the same alleged conspiracy but focused on the state of Georgia.

Trump blasted the multiple prosecutions threatening his re-election bid on Tuesday, complaining that court appearances would keep him off the campaign trail for much of 2024.