The trial will begin on August 14 “or as soon thereafter as the case may be called,” according to Cannon, the judge appointed by Trump to preside over it, and will last two weeks.
Experts are dubious about such a short timeline given that both parties are likely to request delays so they can have enough time to prepare for the trial, despite the fact that the particular district where the case is being heard is known for its speedy deliberations.
On Tuesday, Cannon urged the prosecution and defence to submit any pre-trial motions before July 24. The trial will take place in the Fort Pierce, Florida, courthouse where Cannon, 42, usually serves as an attorney.
If the trial starts on August 14 or soon after, it might happen to fall on August 23, the day of the first Republican debate. Trump, the undisputed front-runner in the race for the 2024 nomination, hasn’t committed to taking part. Regardless of the outcome of any legal proceedings, he has vowed to remain in the race.
When asked about the documents case, Trump’s more than a dozen GOP rivals have responded in a variety of ways, from urging him to drop out of the race to promising to pardon him if he wins.
According to the unsealed indictment, federal prosecutors have charged 77-year-old Trump with 37 criminal counts for keeping secret documents at Mar-a-Lago, his exclusive club and home in Palm Beach, Florida, after he left office.
False statements and obstruction of justice are two of the charges, both of which carry lengthy prison sentences.
The 31 documents that are the focus of the indictment’s allegations lack precise content. According to the indictment, the records include information about US nuclear programs and “potential vulnerabilities of the United States and its allies to military attack.”
As the assigned judge, Cannon will have the authority to direct the course of the case. She will decide whether to dismiss some or all of the counts before the case goes to trial, select the jurors, and determine the volume of evidence and legal arguments the attorneys can present to the jury.
She will also be in charge of deciding Trump’s punishment if a jury convicts him.
In a decision that received harsh criticism last year, Cannon decided that a special master, a neutral arbiter, should examine the records that the FBI seized from Mar-a-Lago. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the decision in a harsh opinion.
On June 13, at his arraignment in Miami, Trump entered a not-guilty plea. US Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman commanded the prosecution to compile a list of witnesses who Trump could not speak with directly without going through his attorneys.
Trump claimed that he didn’t return the boxes of documents because he had been “very busy” and wanted to sort through them to separate out his personal belongings in an interview with Fox News that aired on Monday.
This is Trump’s second active criminal investigation. The Manhattan district attorney’s office filed a 34-count indictment against him in April, alleging that he had improperly falsified business records by paying Stormy Daniels, an adult film actress, in order to influence the 2016 presidential election. In that case, Trump entered a not guilty plea and has denied having an affair.
Former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Trial Scheduled to Wrap Up by September |
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