Special Counsel Jack Smith has responded to a request from Donald Trump’s legal team to move the former president’s federal election interference trial to 2026, arguing to Judge Tanya Chutkan that Trump’s argument for a delayed trial “overstates” and “exaggerates” the challenges of discovery.
According to the government, which proposed a Jan. 2, 2024 start for the trial, Trump’s attorneys cite misrepresented statistics regarding the average length of the trial for Jan. 6 cases. “The defendant cites the median time from commencement to termination for jury trials of Section 371 charges—29.4 months—without explaining that this median time runs through the completion of sentencing, not the beginning of trial,” the special prosecutor argues.
“The data cited by the defendant spans October 2021 through September 2022, when federal courts were pulling out of a backlog caused by COVID-19 closures. During that period, only 22 cases went to trial nationwide. This small and skewed sample provides no help to the Court in deciding an appropriate trial date,” the filing adds.
In their motion requesting a nearly three-year delay to the start of the trial, Trump’s attorneys complained that the amount of discovery evidence provided to them by the government would create a stack of paper “taller than the Washington Monument, stacked on top of itself eight times, with nearly a million pages to spare.”
The government responded by pointing out that much of the evidence presented to Trump’s attorneys has been publicly available for some time now. This includes Trump’s tweets, Truth Social posts, and public statements, depositions, testimony, and materials gathered by the House Jan. 6 Committee, as well as materials from the National Archives that Trump and his attorneys had in their possession before turning them over to the government.
“The first discovery production also included more than 100,000 pages of duplicative material because the Government sought to produce it in an exceptionally organized, clear, and
user-friendly fashion,” the filing reads. “Indeed, the Government provided the discovery in organized, load-ready files for importation to a searchable electronic database, with the understanding that the defense, consistent with modern standard practice, will review discovery electronically rather than manually.”
“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,” the government wrote.
Finally, Smith indicated that he would be perfectly happy to reschedule specific court appearances should they conflict with the myriad legal issues Trump is currently facing.
“The Government is confident that the Court can and will, in this case as in any other, consider the parties’ proposals and its own calendar and navigate around true conflicts,” Smith wrote. “Through reasoned, discretionary scheduling orders… the Court can fairly administer the prompt disposition of this case.
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