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Florida Federal Judge Rejects Trump’s Request for Delay, Sets May 2024 Trial Date for Classified Documents Case

July 21, 2023









In a recent development, the Espionage Act and obstruction of justice case against former president Donald Trump will proceed without delay, as the Florida federal judge overseeing the trial, US District Judge Aileen Cannon, has rejected Trump’s bid to postpone the proceedings until after the 2024 election.

Judge Cannon issued an order on Friday, granting the government’s request to set a speedy trial date and schedule for pretrial motions, with the trial set to begin on 20 May 2024.

Prosecutors from the Justice Department, led by Special Counsel Jack Smith, had initially requested a December 2023 trial date, but the judge opted for the May 2024 start date.

The indictment against the ex-president includes 38 counts, alleging unlawful retention of national defense information and conspiracy and obstruction of justice offenses. Trump’s legal team, however, argued that there was no need for an expedited trial and requested more time to review the evidence provided by the government and prepare pre-trial motions.

The defense also raised concerns about the possibility of a fair trial due to extensive media coverage and the challenge of selecting an impartial jury during a presidential election. However, prosecutors urged Judge Cannon to treat Trump like any other criminal defendant, emphasizing the importance of a speedy trial for the public interest.

Assistant Special Counsel David Harbach asserted that Trump, despite being a former president and a potential presidential candidate, should not be treated differently under the law. The prosecution argued that the divisive nature of Trump’s public image would persist regardless of the election outcome.

Despite Trump’s lawyers citing a target letter indicating the possibility of another indictment, Judge Cannon rejected their arguments for an indefinite delay. The trial date selection is seen as a significant victory for Special Counsel Jack Smith, who is also overseeing a separate grand jury investigation in Washington into Trump’s actions after the 2020 election.

The decision by Judge Cannon showcases her impartiality, putting to rest concerns that she might be accommodating to the former president, considering she was nominated to the bench by Trump.

Source: Independent

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