The date set for the start of the case will be just six months before the United States presidential elections take place, in which the former president is a pre-candidate and one of the favorite options of the Republican Party. This is another setback for the tycoon, who has several pending proceedings and whose lawyers tried to keep the date for this case from being set or given after the November 2024 elections.
May 20, 2024 is the date set by Judge Aileen Canon for the trial against Donald Trump to begin for the classified documents that were found at his residence in Mar-a-Lago, in the state of Florida. The former president’s lawyers had resisted setting a date, but argued that the trial date should be after the elections scheduled for November 2024, in which Trump is a candidate for the Republican Party and the figure with the most options to win the nomination.
If the date stands, it would come shortly after another New York trial against Trump on dozens of state charges of falsifying business records related to an alleged payment of money to porn actress Stormy Daniels in 2016 to keep their alleged sexual relations a secret. It also means that the trial would not begin until well into the presidential candidacy calendar and likely long after the Republican nominee is clear, though before that person is officially nominated at the Republican National Convention.
Pushing back the December 11 trial start date that the Justice Department had requested, Cannon wrote that “the schedule proposed by the Government is uncharacteristically fast and inconsistent with ensuring a fair trial.” She agreed with defense attorneys that the amount of evidence that would need to be sifted before trial, including classified information, was “voluminous and would likely increase in the normal course as trial neared.”
“The Court finds that the interests of justice served by this postponement outweigh the interest of the public and defendants in a speedy trial,” Cannon wrote.
Trump could face new causes
Trump could still face additional trials in the coming year. He revealed this week that he had received a letter informing him that he was the target of a separate Justice Department investigation into efforts to undo the results of the 2020 presidential election, an indication that charges could be coming soon.
The target letter referred to multiple different statutes that Trump could be accused of violating, including conspiracy to defraud the government, according to a person familiar with the matter who insisted on anonymity to discuss the private correspondence.
Trump’s new attorney in that investigation, John Lauro, told Fox News on Friday that prosecutors appeared to be charging Trump with “some kind of effort to obstruct” the January 6, 2021 state electoral vote count. Lauro claimed that Trump would not appear before a grand jury because he “did absolutely nothing wrong.”
“He hasn’t done anything criminal,” Lauro said. “And he has made his case that he had the right to take these positions as president of the United States. When he saw all these electoral discrepancies and irregularities that were taking place, he did what any president was required to do because he took an oath to do exactly that.” Multiple Trump-appointed judges and Trump’s own attorney general said there was no evidence of widespread fraud that could have affected the election outcome.
Prosecutors in Georgia, meanwhile, plan to announce impeachment decisions in a matter of weeks in an investigation into attempts by Trump and his allies to subvert voting in that state.
The trial before Cannon would take place in federal court in Fort Pierce.
It stems from a 38-count indictment last month, brought by Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith, which accused Trump of knowingly hoarding classified documents, including top-secret records, at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach and conspiring with his valet, Walt Nauta, to hide them from investigators who demanded them.