Donald Trump wants his election trial to start in 2026. Prosecutors say that’s too long a wait.

WASHINGTON – Donald Trump’s lawyers on Thursday proposed a 2026 start to his federal trial on charges he tried to steal the last election, part of a strategy to combat a “blank check” of investigations spending and postpone his four pending criminal cases until after his presidential bid.

Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith proposed to start the trial Jan. 2, which his team said would allow five months for Trump to review the evidence and debate pretrial motions. The trial is projected to last four to six weeks, which would carry it through the early presidential caucuses and primaries.

But Trump’s lawyers argued the government has had years and tens of millions of dollars to build a case with 11.5 million pages of documents and interviews with hundreds of witnesses.

“The public interest lies in justice and fair trial, not a rush to judgment,” Trump’s lawyers said in a filing. “Moreover, if the rights to due process and counsel are to mean anything, a defendant must have adequate time todefend himself.”

Former President Donald Trump delivers remarks during the Georgia state GOP convention at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center on June 10, 2023 in Columbus, Ga.

Former President Donald Trump delivers remarks during the Georgia state GOP convention at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center on June 10, 2023 in Columbus, Ga.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan has said she could set a brisk trial schedule to avoid Trump’s statements and social media posts tainting the jury pool.

Trump’s lawyers have argued a speedy trial only benefits the defendant, which Trump is willing to waive.

“This is an unprecedented case in American history,” Trump’s lawyers said. “The incumbent administration hastargeted its primary political opponent—and leading candidate in the upcoming presidential election − with criminal prosecution.”

But prosecutors argued the public would also benefit from a speedy trial.

“Most importantly, a January 2 trial date would vindicate the public’s strong interest in a speedy trial—an interest guaranteed by the Constitution and federal law in all cases, but of particular significance here, where the defendant, a former president, is charged with conspiring to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election, obstruct the certification of the election results, and discount citizens’ legitimate votes,” prosecutors wrote.

Trump is already juggling the timing for a half-dozen criminal and civil trials.

New York Attorney General Letitia James has a $250 million civil trial scheduled against Trump’s company on Oct. 2, which could last six weeks. E. Jean Carroll has a $5 million defamation case in New York scheduled for trial Jan. 15 – the day of the Iowa caucuses − and projected to last two weeks.

In Georgia, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis proposed to start her racketeering trial March 4. A judge hasn’t set the date yet.

Trump had planned a Monday news conference to rebut allegations in the Georgia case. But he announced Thursday in a post on Truth Social that rather than release his report, he would “fight to dismiss this disgraceful Indictment.”

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has a trial that could last five weeks set to start March 25 on charges of falsifying business records. Smith has a tentative trial date for charges of mishandling classified documents May 20, with the trial lasting an estimated five weeks.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump proposes to start federal election case in 2026

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