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Judge sets date for Trump's classified documents trial

Former President Donald Trump's federal classified documents trial is set to begin Aug. 14, according to a new filing in federal court.
Judge sets date for Trump's classified documents trial
Posted at 7:55 AM, Jun 20, 2023

Judge Aileen Cannon has set Aug. 14 as the date for a preliminary trial to begin in the Justice Department's case against former President Donald Trump. 

The hearing is scheduled for a Fort Pierce, Florida, courtroom. 

Cannon is requiring all pre-trial motions to be filed by July 24. 

While defendants are entitled to a quick trial under the U.S. Constitution, they can motion to have it delayed to prepare a defense. 

An August trial would take place well before the Republican presidential primaries begin early next year. 

Trump is facing 37 criminal counts, which include allegations that he mishandled classified documents after leaving the White House.

SEE MORE: Trump ordered not to disclose evidence on social media

The likelihood of a trial starting so soon remains in question. Trump's attorneys can motion to have certain pieces of evidence excluded from the trial. Trump's attorneys can also move to have the case dismissed or for a change of venue.

Trump's attorneys are also being asked to get proper security clearances, a process that could take time. 

Once the trial begins, jury selection commences. The jurors are selected randomly from a pool of potential jurors compiled from registered voters living in the federal court district. Vetting a juror for potential biases could be a challenge given the case involves a former president.

Trump pleaded not guilty on all 37 counts last week. The counts include:

31 counts - Willful retention of national defense information

1 count - Conspiracy to obstruct justice

1 count - Withholding a document or record

1 count - Corruptly concealing a document or record

1 count - Concealing a document in a federal investigation

1 count - Scheme to conceal

1 count - False statements and representations 

The first 35 counts carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. 

The DOJ said that on Jan. 17, 2022, Trump provided 15 boxes containing 197 documents after the National Archives demanded he turn over records. On June 3, 2022, the DOJ said Trump’s attorneys handed over 38 additional classified documents. Then on Aug. 8, 2022, federal officials issued a search warrant. The DOJ said the warrant turned up 102 additional documents with classified markings.

The indictment alleges that Trump kept classified documents in a ballroom, in bathrooms and in showers at Mar-a-Lago. It also says that on at least two occasions, Trump showed documents to individuals who were unauthorized to view classified documents.

The DOJ alleged that Trump directed his attorneys to lie about possessing these documents.

The federal case is not the only trial Trump faces. His case brought by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office earlier this year is set to go to trial in March 2024. In that trial, Trump faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records.

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