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Trial date in Trump documents case set for 14 August

The preliminary date is likely to be pushed back by Trump’s legal team.

A US JUDGE has scheduled the criminal trial of former president Donald Trump for his alleged mishandling of classified documents and obstruction to begin on 14 August.

Trump’s legal team is likely to get that preliminary date pushed back by months, however, as it files a flurry of motions over numerous complex legal issues before a jury is seated.

The 2024 Republican presidential frontrunner was charged last week with 37 criminal counts over his refusal to return hundreds of government records he took on leaving the White House in 2021.

He pleaded not guilty to violating the Espionage Act and conspiring to obstruct justice by concealing documents and misleading investigators.

Judge Aileen Cannon ordered both sides to file pre-trial motions by 24 July, setting aside two weeks for a trial in Fort Pierce, a two-hour drive north of Miami, where Trump was initially processed.

The Southern District of Florida is known as a “rocket docket” jurisdiction, because its judges push for trials to start relatively quickly.

But the former president’s lawyers will need time to obtain security clearances to access some of the classified material he is accused of mishandling.

They will likely file multiple motions to dismiss the case and over the sharing of evidence that could take up to a year, according to some analysts, including former Trump lawyer Tim Parlatore.

On Monday, federal magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart approved an order sought by special counsel Jack Smith to keep Trump and his lawyers from releasing sensitive information in the case to the public.

In an interview with Fox News, Trump defended his decision to take boxes of documents from the White House, saying many of the papers were “interspersed” with his personal effects.

“I want to go through the boxes and get all my personal things out. I don’t want to hand that over … And I was very busy, as you’ve sort of seen,” he said.

© AFP 2023

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