Trump's pretrial hearing in classified documents case ended with no trial date decided

Former President Donald Trump and his personal assistant Waltine Nauta face federal indictments.

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon did not rule on the start date of the classified documents trial against former President Donald Trump during a pre-trial hearing Tuesday in Fort Pierce court in Florida.

Legal representatives for the Justice Department, Trump and Trump aide Walt Nauta, discussed the start date of the criminal trial against former President Trump and his aide Walt Nauta, but Judge Cannon did not rule on the date.

Donald Trump was not in court on Tuesday, only his aide Nauta showed up.

The timing of the federal trial is crucial, as it could coincide with the 2024 presidential election..

Cannon set the jury selection for August 14, but the prosecution considered in a petition that the most appropriate date is December 11, while the defense requested that the trial be postponed without a date until after the 2024 elections, so as not to affect the Trump campaign, which prosecutors oppose.

Trump is accused of keeping classified US government documents after the former president left the White House, denying he had them and then refusing to hand them over.

FBI photo of documents that were seized during the Mar-a-Lago search for Donald Trump. /Photo: US District Court, Southern District of Florida, West Palm Beach Division/Courtesy

Trump and his valet, Nauta, are also charged with conspiring to obstruct the FBI investigation by moving boxes of documents to evade government scrutiny.

Trump and Nauta pleaded not guilty before a federal judge in Miami to an indictment of more than 30 counts that accuses them of conspiring to conceal classified documents from Justice Department investigators that were taken from the White House to Mar-a- Lake at the end of Trump's term, in January 2021.

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon said she was likely to delay the start of a trial in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case beyond the mid-December date proposed by federal prosecutors, but she was deeply skeptical. in the face of arguments from Donald Trump's lawyers that he will not be able to get a fair trial while running for president.

During the hearing in Fort Pierce, Florida, Cannon told prosecutors that his timeline was "compressed" and that cases like this take longer.

Cannon did not decide on a trial date, but He said he plans to issue an order "quickly" on the matter.

Why setting the start date for Trump's trial is a problem

The ongoing dispute over setting a trial date, which is a routine matter in criminal cases, underscores the unprecedented nature of impeaching a former president who is also running to retake the White House in 2024.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing and criticized the impeachment as an attempt to damage his election campaign.

Photo shows pages of the federal indictment against former President Donald Trump, June 9, 2023 in Washington, DC.
Photo shows pages of the federal indictment against former President Donald Trump, June 9, 2023 in Washington, DC. /Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Trump's lawyers say the Republican cannot have a fair trial before the election and insist that they need more time to review the evidence and prepare for what he describes as a complex case.

The judge repeatedly pressed Trump's lawyers to set some dates and a more concrete schedule, but acknowledged that he understood that they needed more time to review the documents and images.

He also asked prosecutors if there have been any other similar cases involving classified documents that have been prosecuted in such a short time.

Special counsel Jack Smith's team, which is pushing for the trial to begin in December, told the judge the case is not complex and there is no need for a lengthy delay and rejected defense suggestions that Trump was impeached because he is running for president. Prosecutor David Harbach said there was "no political influence."

“No one on our team is a political appointee,” Harbach said, noting that they are all career prosecutors.

The pretrial hearing against Trump over his handling of classified government documents came hours after Trump revealed he had received a targeting letter from the Justice Department in a separate investigation into efforts by him and his allies to overturn the findings. of the 2020 presidential election. Such letters often precede impeachment.

With information from CNN, NPR and The Hill

Keep reading:

– Special counsel rejected Trump's attempt to delay trial of classified documents until after the election
– CNN publishes audio with new details of Trump's conversation about the classified documents
– Trump says he did not return classified documents because he was “so busy”

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