The federal trial of former President Donald Trump has been set for May 2024, during the Republican Party’s 2020 nominating contests and just two months before its national convention. The timing and high profile of the trial may play a significant role in that year’s presidential election.
U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, who was appointed by the former president in 2020, set the start of the trial as May 20, 2024. The trial revolves around allegations that Trump handled classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago home.
The former president faces 37 felony charges.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) originally requested that the trial begin in December 2023. The Trump legal team signaled that it was not against the trial being delayed. Cannon originally set the date of the trial for August 2022.
The Justice Department said in their request that “the inclusion of additional time for defense counsel to review and digest the discovery, to make their own decisions about any production to the government and for the government to review the same, is reasonable and appropriate.”
The federal judge wrote that by setting the trial date for May, “the interests of justice served by this continuance outweigh the best interest of the public and Defendants in a speedy trial.”
Cannon also wrote that the DOJ’s “proposed schedule is atypically accelerated and inconsistent with ensuring a fair trial,” adding that there would need to be more time to sort through evidence which was “voluminous and likely to increase in the normal course as trial approaches.”
A Florida judge has set May 20, 2024, as the date for Donald Trump's trial.
This date is in the middle of primary season.
The whole operation is totally political. pic.twitter.com/5uREvTfPcB
— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) July 21, 2023
The Trump 2024 campaign said that the judge’s decision was 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.”
The court date decision also comes as the prosecuting attorney in the documents trial, U.S. Attorney Jack Smith, announced that he was also investigating the former president in relation to the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election.
Trump attorney John Lauro said this week that the former president “did absolutely nothing wrong.”