Judge sets trial start date for next May in Trump’s classified documents case in Florida

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2024 trial date set in criminal classified documents case against Trump

A federal judge in Florida has set a trial date of May 20, 2024, in the case charging former President Trump with illegally retaining hundreds of classified documents.


A federal judge in Florida has scheduled former President Trump’s trial start date for next May in a case charging him with illegally retaining hundreds of classified documents.

The May 20, 2024, trial date, set Friday by U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, is a compromise between a request from prosecutors to set the trial for this December and a bid by defense lawyers to put it off until sometime after the 2024 presidential election.

If the date holds, the trial will come on the heels of a separate New York trial for Trump on dozens of state charges of falsifying business records in connection with an alleged hush money payment to a porn actor. It also means the trial would not start until deep into the presidential nominating calendar and probably well after the Republican nominee is clear — though before that person is officially nominated at the Republican National Convention.


In pushing back the trial from the Dec. 11 start date that the Justice Department had requested, Cannon wrote that “the Government’s proposed schedule is atypically accelerated and inconsistent with ensuring a fair trial.” She agreed with defense lawyers that the amount of evidence that would need to be sifted through before the trial, including classified information, was “voluminous and likely to increase in the normal course as trial approaches.”

“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.

In a statement referring to the Department of Justice, the Trump campaign called Cannon’s order “a major setback to the DOJ’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.”

Trump may face additional trials in the coming year. He revealed this week that his lawyers had received a letter stating that he was a target of a separate Justice Department investigation into efforts to undo the results of the 2020 presidential election — an indication that charges in that case could be coming soon.

The target letter referred to multiple statutes that Trump could be charged with violating, including conspiracy to defraud the government, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity because the correspondence was private.

Trump’s new lawyer in that investigation, John Lauro, told Fox News on Friday that prosecutors appeared to be accusing Trump of “some kind of effort to obstruct” the Jan. 6, 2021, counting of state electoral votes and considering “whether or not President Trump intimidated anyone or ballot stuffed.” He said Trump would not be appearing before a grand jury because “he did absolutely nothing wrong.”


“He’s done nothing criminal,” Lauro said. “And he’s made his case that he was entitled to take these positions as president of the United States. When he saw all these election discrepancies and irregularities going on, he did what any president was required to do, because he took an oath to do exactly that.”

Multiple judges appointed by Trump and his own attorney general found there was no evidence of widespread fraud that could have reversed Trump’s loss to Democratic rival Joe Biden.

Prosecutors in Georgia, meanwhile, plan to announce charging decisions within weeks in an investigation into attempts by Trump and his allies to reverse Biden’s victory in that state.

The documents trial before Cannon is to take place in a federal courthouse in Fort Pierce, Fla.

It arises from a 38-count indictment filed last month by Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith that accused Trump of willfully hoarding classified documents, including top-secret records, at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., and conspiring with an employee, Walt Nauta, to hide them from investigators who demanded them back.

Trump and Nauta have both pleaded not guilty.