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Trump's classified documents trial set for May 2024

July 22, 2023

Donald Trump's trial over his alleged mishandling of classified documents will occur just months before next year's presidential election. The former president has pleaded not guilty in the case.

Former US President Donald Trump waves as he departs a campaign stop in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Trump has accused US President Joe Biden of weaponizing the federal government against him following the Justice Department indictmentImage: Charlie Neibergall/AP Photo/picture alliance

The trial in the classified documents case against former US President Donald Trump is set to begin in May next year, a court order issued on Friday showed.

US District Judge Aileen M. Cannon's decision means the trial will likely take place well after the Republican nominee for president becomes clear and as the 2024 US presidential election heats up.

Trump is considered the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, according to recent polling. This means he will likely face off again against Democratic President Joe Biden, who is running for reelection. 

Prosecutors wanted the trial to start in December this year, but Trump's lawyers asked for it to be delayed until after the 2024 election.

"The Court finds that the interests of justice served by this continuance outweigh the best interest of the public and defendants in a speedy trial," Cannon wrote.

What are the details of the case? 

The trial will be held at a federal courthouse in Fort Pierce, Florida during the two-week period from May 20, 2024.

Trump was charged last month with 37 criminal counts for his alleged mishandling of classified documents after leaving the White House and lying to officials who sought to recover them. He has pleaded not guilty.

US: Donald Trump faces Miami court

On Friday, a Trump spokesperson welcomed the judge's decision not to start the trial in December, calling it a "setback to the [US Justice Department's] crusade to deny President Trump a fair legal process."

"The extensive schedule allows President Trump and his legal team to continue fighting this empty hoax," the spokesperson said.

Trump's mounting legal woes

The Florida trial will follow hot on the heels of a case in Manhattan in March next year, where he has to face separate charges that he falsified business records to conceal a hush money payment to a porn star.

Trump is also likely to face charges over his alleged interference with the peaceful transfer of power during the 2020 election. He hinted on his Truth Social account that an indictment, in that case, might be coming soon.

In addition, prosecutors in Georgia are also expected to soon unveil charges against Trump regarding his efforts to overturn the 2020 results in that state. 

lo/wd (AFP, AP, Reuters)