Three-time indicted former president Donald Trump’s lawyers were directed by Tanya Chutkan, a federal judge, — presiding over his case regarding 2020 election results — to appear in court concerning the sharing and presenting of the evidence, according to a Reuters report.
The hearing of Donald Trump’s case has been set by US District Court Judge Chutkan for Friday at 10am ET shortly after the former president’s attorneys and members of US Special Counsel Jack Smith’s office had argued in a joint court over about schedule of the proceeding.
Earlier, prosecutors had said they were available all week, while the 77-year-old’s lawyers had asked for a postponement until early next week.
Friday’s hearing comes after Trump’s defence team Monday opposed a request from prosecutors for Tanya 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 to all the charges calling it politically motivated and a witch hunt against him.
The Republican presidential candidate’s attorneys said limits would infringe on his right to free speech, protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
Donald Trump is not expected to be present in the courtroom Friday after Chutkan waived his appearance.
Typically, defence lawyers do not oppose such protective orders because doing so can delay the government from producing the evidence it intends to use at trial in a process known as discovery.
The disagreement between the parties over the hearing date represented the latest effort by twice-impeached Trump’s team to delay or slow legal proceedings.
It also underscored the logistical challenges that Trump’s team may have as it continues to represent him in two separate federal criminal cases brought by Smith’s office, one in Washington, DC, and the other in southern Florida, where the billionaire is charged with retaining classified documents after leaving the White House and obstructing the government’s efforts to have the records returned. Trump also pleaded not guilty in that case.
Todd Blanche, one of Trump’s lawyers will be in federal court in Florida Thursday for arraignment after the government filed a superseding indictment that charged Trump with additional criminal counts and also charged another one of his employees in the case.
In the joint Washington filing, Trump’s lawyers said Trump wished for both Blanche and his other lawyer John Lauro to be present for the hearing before Chutkan.