A federal judge in Florida has set a trial date for former President Donald Trump for next May in a case that accuses him of illegally withholding hundreds of classified documents.
The May 20, 2024 trial date, set Friday by U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, is a compromise between a request by prosecutors to start the trial in December and an attempt by defense attorneys to schedule it after 7 p.m. 2024 presidential election.
If the date stands, it would follow a separate trial in New York for Trump on dozens of state charges of falsifying business records in connection with an alleged hush money payment to a porn actress.
It also means that the trial won’t begin until well into the presidential nomination schedule and likely long after the Republican nominee is clear, though before that person is officially nominated at the Republican National Convention.
In delaying the trial from the December 11 start date that the Justice Department had requested, Cannon wrote that “the schedule proposed by the government is uncharacteristically fast and inconsistent with the guarantee of a fair trial.”
The judge agreed with defense attorneys that the amount of evidence that would need to be analyzed before trial, including classified information, was “voluminous.”
“The court finds that the interests of justice served by this continuation outweigh the best interest of the public and defendants in a speedy trial,” Cannon wrote.
Trump could still face additional trials in the coming year.
This week he revealed that he had received a letter informing him that he was the target of a separate Justice Department investigation into efforts to undo the 2020 presidential election.
Separately, prosecutors in Georgia plan to announce indictment decisions within weeks in an investigation into attempts by Trump and his allies to subvert the 2020 vote in that state.