Trump DC trial set for March 2024, in thick of GOP presidential fight



Donald Trump will stand trial in March 2024 for trying to overturn his 2020 presidential election defeat, one day before Republican voters in more than a dozen U.S. states will decide whether to give him a chance to recapture the White House.

U.S. Judge Tanya Chutkan on Monday set a trial date of March 4 for the federal case in Washington, one of four criminal prosecutions the former president faces.

That is one day before "Super Tuesday," a potentially decisive date in the Republican presidential nominating contest, when states from Maine to California will hold their nominating contests. Opinion polls show Trump leading his rivals by a wide margin.

Chutkan's decision means that Trump will likely have to stand trial in at least three separate criminal cases while he is campaigning for the party's nomination to take on Democratic President Joe Biden in the November 2024 election. A trial date in a fourth criminal case has not yet been set.

He is also a defendant in three civil trials scheduled to take place over the coming six months.

Trump's lawyers had pressed for an April 2026 trial date, but Chutkan said they did not need that long to prepare.

"Mr Trump will have to make the trial date work, regardless of his schedule," Chutkan said.

Trump said he would appeal, but legal experts say scheduling decisions cannot be appealed until a verdict has been reached. Trump's lawyer John Lauro said he would abide by Chutkan's schedule.

Trump is due to stand trial in New York on March 25 on state charges of concealing a hush money payment to a porn star. Chutkan said she would consult with the judge in that case to work out any potential scheduling conflicts.

A third trial is scheduled for May 20, 2024 on federal charges in Florida, alleging that Trump illegally retained classified records after leaving the White House and tried to obstruct justice.

A trial date for the fourth criminal case in Georgia has not yet been set. Fulton County prosecutor Fani Willis has requested a start of March 4, but Chutkan's decision means that timeline will likely shift.