Donald Trump is pushing for his federal election interference trial in Washington to be televised, joining media outlets that say the American public should be able to watch the historic case unfold.
The Justice Department is opposing the effort to broadcast the trial, scheduled to begin in March, and notes that federal court rules prohibit televised proceedings.
News organizations, including the Associated Press, have argued there has never been a federal case that warrants making an exception to that rule more than a former president standing trial on accusations that he tried to subvert the will of voters in an election.
Lawyers for Trump, who has characterized the case against him as politically motivated, said in court papers late Friday that “every person in America, and beyond, should have the opportunity to study this case firsthand.”
“President Trump absolutely agrees, and in fact demands, that these proceedings should be fully televised so that the American public can see firsthand that this case, just like others, is nothing more than a dreamt-up unconstitutional charade that should never be allowed to happen again,” Trump’s lawyers wrote.
Trump was indicted on felony charges in August for working to overturn the results of the 2020 election, which he lost to Democrat Joe Biden, in the run-up to the violent riot at the U.S. Capitol by his supporters. Trump is the Republican front-runner for his party’s presidential nomination in 2024.
The request for a televised trial comes as the federal election case in Washington has emerged as the most potent and direct legal threat to Trump’s political fortunes.
U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan has appeared determined to keep the Washington trial date as scheduled.
On Friday, the federal judge in the separate classified documents prosecution of Trump pushed back multiple deadlines in a way that makes it highly unlikely that that case can proceed to trial next May as had been planned. Trump is facing dozens of felony counts under the Espionage Act.
Richer reported from Boston. Associated Press reporter Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report.