Legal analysts call new trial date in Donald Trump's classified documents case a 'compromise'

Trump's team requested Judge Aileen Cannon set trial for sometime after 2024 election
Posted at 4:54 PM, Jul 21, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-21 16:54:38-04

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — Legal analysts are calling a new trial date in Donald Trump's classified documents a "compromise" after each side made their argument for a new date in U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon's courtroom on Tuesday.

On Friday morning, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon released an order setting a new trial date in Donald Trump's classified documents case.

The trial for Trump, who is charged with 37 counts pertaining to the mishandling of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago home, was initially scheduled to start in August. However, last month, Special Counsel Jack Smith's team proposed a new date of mid-December because the case involved classified information that needed security clearance in order to be turned over to Trump's lawyers.

Trump's legal representatives then responded by requesting an indefinite delay, saying they need additional time to examine the evidence and that proceeding with this date is "unreasonable," and suggesting that an unbiased jury cannot be selected before the 2024 election.

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Judge sets trial date of May 2024 for Donald Trump's classified documents case

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However, Cannon wrote in the seven-page ruling that "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."

She set the trial date for May 20, 2024.

"It's a compromise date," Alain Sanders, attorney and professor emeritus of political science at St. Peter's University, said.

Sanders called it a compromise because, during Tuesday's hearing, the DOJ argued the trial should be held this December, a date the former president's legal team argued against.

Trump's team requested the judge set the trial for sometime after the 2024 election because it would be difficult to seat an impartial jury during the campaign. They also are concerned about Trump's schedule with several other pending legal matters.

Alain Sanders offers his insight on the trial date for Donald Trump in the classified documents case.
Alain Sanders offers his insight on the trial date for Donald Trump in the classified documents case.

"This is not such a complicated case. I mean the real issues are: did Trump have documents in his possession that he should not have had, did he know about that and did he obstruct the federal government from getting them back," Sanders said. "So, setting a May date is really at the extreme of reasonableness."

According to Cannon's order, "more than 1.1 million pages of non-classified discovery" have been produced in this case so far, along with "at least nine months of camera footage" from Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate and over 1,500 pages of classified discovery as well.

Cannon called the DOJ's proposed schedule "accelerated and inconsistent with ensuring a fair trial" and landed on May.

"Now of course, it's unlikely to occur right at the time Judge Cannon has set because there are likely to be motions that Trump is likely to make," Sanders said. "So there may be more delays that result from those motions."

The Trump campaign released the following statement Friday:

"Today's order by Judge Cannon is 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. Crooked Joe Biden is losing and attempting to use his weaponized DOJ against his top political rival--a disgraceful and un-American abuse of power. Crooked Joe will fail and President Trump will win back the White House for the American people."