Judge sets spring trial date for classified docs case in blow to Trump’s quest for indefinite delay


(NEW YORK) — A federal judge has dealt a blow to former President Donald Trump’s push to indefinitely delay his classified documents trial.

The former president will now stand trial in May of next year on charges that he mishandled classified material, according to a court filing Friday.

Judge Aileen Cannon scheduled the trial for May 20, a compromise date later than prosecutors had sought but sooner than the indefinite delay requested by Trump.

Trump’s attorneys had argued that the extraordinary nature of the case meant there should be no reason to expedite the trial, while prosecutors in special counsel Jack Smith’s office contended there was no reason for a delay.

“There is no basis in law or fact for proceeding in such an indeterminate and open-ended fashion, and the Defendants provide none,” prosecutor David Harbach wrote in his filing.

The judge, however, said the special counsel’s proposed trial date of December was too soon, given the complexity of the case and the sheer volume of evidence.

“By conservative estimates, the amount of discovery in this case is voluminous and likely to increase in the normal course as trial approaches,” her decision said.

“[E]ven accepting the Government’s contested submission that nothing in this case presents a ‘novel question of fact or law,’ the fact remains that the Court will be faced with extensive pre-trial motion practice on a diverse number of legal and factual issues, all in connection with a 38-count indictment,” the judge added.

The trial will take place at the federal court in Ft. Pierce, Florida, according to the judge’s order. The next hearing in the case is tentatively scheduled for August 25.

Trump pleaded not guilty in June to 37 criminal counts related to his handling of classified materials, after prosecutors said he repeatedly refused to return hundreds of documents containing classified information ranging from U.S. nuclear secrets to the nation’s defense capabilities.

He has denied all charges and denounced the probe as a political witch hunt.

Trump’s court calendar is rapidly filling with dates that coil around the nation’s political calendar as he again runs for president.

If the May court date holds, it means Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s hush money case against Trump, currently scheduled for March 24, will go to trial first. Trump in April pleaded not guilty to a 34-count indictment charging him with falsifying business records in connection with a hush money payment made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels days before the 2016 presidential election.

He is first scheduled to stand trial in October in a $250 million civil lawsuit brought by the New York Attorney General, who has accused the Trump family of “grossly” inflating the former president’s net worth by billions of dollars and cheating lenders and others with false and misleading financial statements.

In January, Trump is scheduled to stand trial in E. Jean Carroll’s remaining defamation lawsuit, the date for which coincides with the Iowa caucuses.

Trump has denied all charges and has said the probes are part of a politically motivated witch hunt.

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