Trump legal brief: Judge further complicates Trump's presidential bid with March 4 trial date in Jan. 6 case

“Trump legal brief” provides succinct daily updates on the criminal cases against the 45th president of the United States.

Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts via AP, Getty Images (2), Samuel Corum/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts via AP, Getty Images (2), Samuel Corum/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Jan. 6 election interference

Judge sets March 4 trial date for Jan. 6 case against Trump

Key players: U.S. Judge Tanya Chutkan, special counsel Jack Smith

  • Chutkan ruled Monday that the trial of former President Donald Trump on charges that he illegally sought to overturn his loss in the 2020 election would begin on March 4, 2024, Reuters reported.

  • That start date falls one day prior to Super Tuesday, when 14 states will vote in the Republican presidential primary.

  • Trump’s lawyers argued that the trial shouldn’t begin until April 2026 because they need more time to review the government’s evidence in the case during the busy campaign schedule.

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

  • Trump faces four criminal counts: conspiracy to violate civil rights, conspiracy to defraud the government, corrupt obstruction of an official proceeding and conspiracy to carry out that obstruction. Smith’s team had asked for the trial to begin on Jan. 2, 2024.

Why it matters: Scheduling the trial in March means it is possible that the case could be argued in court and a verdict rendered prior to the November presidential election.

Georgia election interference

Trump and 18 co-defendants will be arraigned in Georgia on Sept. 6

Key players: Trump, Judge Scott McAfee, former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis

  • According to court documents released Monday, Trump and his 18 co-defendants will be arraigned in Fulton County, Ga., on Wednesday, Sept. 6, on charges that they conspired to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in the state, CBS News reported.

  • At 9:30 a.m. ET, the former president is scheduled to be the first of those charged to be arraigned, though Trump could seek a court waiver to avoid appearing in person. Giuliani is scheduled to appear at 9:45 a.m. The other defendants will then appear in 15-minute increments until 3:15 p.m. All are expected to enter pleas of not guilty.

  • Willis has requested an October start date for the trial against Trump and his co-defendants. McAfee has yet to rule on when the proceedings will begin.

Why it matters: Trump’s legal calendar is quickly filling up. In addition to the March 4 start date announced in the Jan. 6 election interference case, the former president will face 34 felony counts of falsification of business records in New York that same month. In May, he is scheduled to be tried on 40 felony counts related to his handling of classified documents after leaving the White House.

Mark Meadows takes the stand

Key players: Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Judge Steve C. Jones

  • Meadows took the stand Monday in an attempt to have the Georgia charges against him moved from state to federal court, ABC News reported.

  • Meadows testified that everything he did in Georgia, including pressuring election officials to speed up their counting and arranging a phone call between Trump and Raffensperger, was part of his role as chief of staff. During that call, Trump asked Raffensperger to “find 11,780 votes,” the approximate margin of Joe Biden’s victory in the Peach State.

  • Prosecutors argued that Meadows’s actions were “outside the lawful scope of his authority.”

Why it matters: If Meadows and other defendants succeed in getting their cases moved to federal court, they could benefit from a larger jury pool that would include potential jurors from outside Fulton County. They could also be eligible for federal pardons if found guilty.

Read more:

Bloomberg: When will Trump be in court? These are the dates to watch.

New Republic: Let the flipping begin: Key witness in classified docs case turns against Trump

Los Angeles Times: How much is Trump’s mug shot worth? Over $7 million, campaign says.