A jury trial in the Justice Department case against former President Donald Trump over his handling of classified documents is scheduled as soon as Aug. 14, Judge Eileen Cannon ordered Tuesday — but Trump’s legal team may delay the start date by filing pretrial motions. and legal challenges to the evidence-gathering process.
Cannon set the trial date in an order setting out the case calendar, including the July 24 deadline for filing pre-trial motions, but left open the possibility that the date was variable, and the trial should be called August 14 or “as soon as thereafter.”
Cannon ordered Trump to be arraigned last week in federal court in Miami, but the trial will be held in Fort Pierce, Florida.
Trump pleaded not guilty last Tuesday to 37 criminal counts related to his handling of classified documents after leaving office, including 31 counts of violating a provision of the Espionage Act that prohibits intentional retention of national defense information, conspiracy to obstruct justice and making false statements.
The jurisdiction in South Florida where the trial takes place is known as expedited case resolution under the federal expedited trial law which requires a conviction or trial in federal cases within 70 days, but the timeline can be extended by various factors, including pretrial motions.
Legal experts said they expect the case to face delays due to complications surrounding the involvement of classified documents in the discovery process, as well as suggestions made by Trump’s legal team, including a possible motion to dismiss the case or challenge the merits. From the search warrant that allowed the Department of Justice to raid Mar-a-Lago in August.
Trump said Monday that he didn’t have time to sort through the boxes he took with him to Mar-A-Lago and separate classified documents later discovered in his possession, telling Fox News’ Brett Baier, “I want to go through the boxes and get all my personal stuff out. I don’t want to turn that over.” to [the National Archives and Records Administration]
Until now. And I was very busy.”
Justice of the Peace Bruce Reinhart on Monday ordered Trump and his attorneys not to publicly disclose any evidence gathered in the case without prior approval from the court, and said Trump was prohibited from keeping any copies of the evidence.
The Justice Department indicted Trump on June 8 in a long-running investigation into his handling of classified documents after leaving office, marking the first time a former US president has faced federal charges and Trump’s second criminal indictment since announcing his campaign. In November. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all 37 charges and has sought to blame President Joe Biden, who oversees the Justice Department, for bringing the case against him. Biden said he was not involved in the investigation, and the Department of Justice appointed special prosecutor Jack Smith to handle the case to avoid the perception of political interference. Trump has also repeatedly claimed that the documents were declassified and that he was negotiating their return with the National Archives and Records Administration. The agency has publicly disputed this claim, explaining that classified documents become property of the archives the moment the president leaves office and there is no process for negotiating their return.
What to watch
Walt Nauta, a Trump aide who was tasked with helping Trump move boxes to evade Justice Department investigators, is scheduled to go on trial June 27. He faces six charges in the case, including document withholding, conspiracy to obstruct justice and concealment scheme. Cannon wrote on Tuesday that a date for his trial will be set after his trial. Examining Judge Jonathan Goodman ordered Trump not to contact Nauta and other witnesses in the case while he was arraigned last week.
Trump fact-check: Here are his false and misleading claims after his arrest in the classified documents case (Forbes)
Trump blames Biden for his conviction – without evidence – and vows justice in fiery post-arrest speech (Forbes)
Trump goes straight from federal indictment to Miami Cuban restaurant — while campaigning for classified documents charges (Forbes)