The Florida judge overseeing President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago classified records trial won’t give the former President what he wants — for now.
U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon for the Southern District of Florida scheduled Trump’s trial on charges of unlawfully retaining national defense information, obstruction, and conspiracy for May 20, 2024.
Trump’s attorneys had asked Cannon to indefinitely delay scheduling a trial date, saying that the 2024 election would make finding an impartial jury pool impossible. Federal prosecutors with Special Counsel Jack Smith’s office wanted the trial to begin in December 2023.
It’s a relative defeat for Trump, who benefitted last year from a series of rulings that Cannon issued in a civil case that he brought to halt the DOJ’s use of records it seized from Mar-a-Lago for its investigation. Cannon wrote in a ruling in that matter that Trump deserved special consideration due to his status as a former President.
In the Friday order, Cannon wrote that Trump’s arguments about his status as a current presidential candidate were “unnecessary to resolution of the Government’s motion at this juncture.” It leaves room for the issue potentially to reappear in the future, but takes it out of consideration for now.
Smith had asked for an unusually early trial for the case, which involves complicated procedures around classification. Cannon designated the case as complex in her ruling, and described Smith’s request as “atypically accelerated and inconsistent with ensuring a fair trial.”
Per the schedule that Cannon set, the two sides have one month to trade arguments about a classified information protective order which Cannon, by law, has to issue.
The trial date itself may be further delayed.