"The public has a right to a prompt and efficient resolution of this matter," US District Judge Tanya Chutkan said after her decision on Monday.
Trump did not appear in court and has pleaded not guilty.
He has portrayed the multiple legal prosecutions against him as politically motivated attempts to prevent him from returning to power, and claimed the trail date being set for March was "election interference."
He claimed on social media that prosecutors timed their investigation "to bring it smack in the middle of Crooked Joe Biden's Political Opponent's campaign against him. Election Interference!"
Conflicting proposals ahead of election season
The start date of the trial was hotly debated as Trump's lawyers appeared in court in Washington for a second time on Monday ahead of Chutkan's decision.
Special counsel Jack Smith's team proposed a trial on January 2, 2024.
However, Trump's lawyers argued that the trial should be set in April 2026 — roughly a year and a half after the next election — because they need more time to review the documents.
Chutkan said the proposals were "very far apart" and neither would work. She also said a defendant's professional schedule should not have a bearing on when a trial is set.
"Mr Trump will have to make the trial date work, regardless of his schedule," Chutkan said.
Trump's legal battles
The federal prosecution over election subversion is one of four trials Trump faces.
They include another federal case accusing Trump of illegally bringing classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago mansion, a New York case accusing Trump of falsifying business records related to alleged hush money payment to Stormy Daniels, and a Georgia case accusing Trump and 18 others attempting to overturn the 2020 election results in the state.
Trump had his mug shot taken for the Georgia case last week.
His campaign used it to sell merchandise and raised more than $7 million (€6.5 million) in the days that followed.
zc/lo (AP, Reuters)