Judge sets May 2024, few months before US presidential election as the start of Trump classified documents trial

The federal judge overseeing the classified documents case by the US Federal government against former US President Donald Trump has decided the criminal trial will begin May 20, 2024, in Fort Pierce, Florida.


Judge Aileen Cannon announced the timing of the trial in a document filed in federal court on Friday, July 21.

“The court rejects Defendant’s request to withhold setting a schedule now,” Cannon wrote in her motion. She said the court “does not see sufficient basis on this record to postpone entry of a scheduling order.”

“Nevertheless, the Government’s proposed schedule is atypically accelerated and inconsistent with ensuring a fair trial.”

“While the government has taken steps to organize and filter the extensive discovery, no one disagrees that Defendants need adequate time to review and evaluate it on their own accord,” Cannon wrote.

Trump faces 37 counts tied to allegations that he willfully retained national defense information, conspired to obstruct justice, and made false statements. 


Walt Nauta, a former White House valet, faces six felony counts stemming from allegations that he helped the former president hide top-secret national security files from investigators after leaving the White House. Both Trump and Nauta have pleaded not guilty.

The timing of the trial comes months after the period special counsel Jack Smith had requested, but is a blow to Trump, who wanted to delay the court proceedings until after the presidential election.

Cannon’s announcement comes after federal prosecutors and defense attorneys argued in favor of their preferred timelines at a hearing earlier this week in Fort Pierce.

Smith had requested a start date of Dec. 11, while Trump’s team said the trial should be pushed back until after the election.

Cannon, a Trump appointee, had initially scheduled the trial to begin Aug. 14.

In recent filings, special counsel prosecutors called for the case to proceed “expeditiously,” while Trump’s attorneys urged Cannon to postpone the trial until after Election Day 2024, arguing that the December trial date sought by the government would be “unreasonable” and “result in a miscarriage of justice.”


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