Former President Trump is set to face trial in March 2024 in the Justice Department’s case targeting his efforts to remain in office after losing the 2020 election.

The decision from U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan to begin jury selection March 4, 2024, comes after special counsel Jack Smith’s team asked for a Jan. 2, 2024, trial date, while Trump’s team suggested a trial date in April 2026.

“These proposals are very far apart and for reasons I’ll get into shortly none of them is acceptable,” Chutkan said at the start of the hearing.

“While Mr. Trump has the right to prepare, the public has a right to prompt and efficient resolution of this matter,” she added later. 

In setting the date, Chutkan noted Trump would face trial more than three years from the day a mob of his supporters ransacked the Capitol after attending his rally.

Chutkan at turns criticized both prosecutors and Trump’s legal team for proposing a trial date either too soon or too distant, risking either failing to give a defendant time to prepare or having witnesses’ memories fade.

Chutkan also noted that a trial date “cannot and should not” depend on a defendant’s professional obligations, seemingly nodding to Trump’s third bid to capture the presidency, noting that if a professional athlete were on trial “it would be inappropriate to set a trial date to accommodate her schedule.” 

Though at one point Chutkan criticized Smith’s team for failing to point to large cases that went to trial in the five-month timeline they suggested, her exchanges with Trump attorney John Lauro proved more heated, with the judge telling him twice to “take the temperature down” as he voiced concerns over the trial date.

Lauro repeatedly referenced his “sacred obligation” to diligently represent Trump and spent much of the time arguing there was simply too much evidence in the case for him to be able to prepare for trial in just a few months.

“This is a question of whether or not one man, one U.S. citizen gets a fair trial or not, and I’m telling you, your honor, based on what I’ve seen so far, this is a gargantuan task,” he said.