Prosecutors and attorneys for former President Donald Trump have reached an agreement with Judge Aileen Cannon to see their classified documents case begin in May 2024, a move that’s sure to keep the case in front of the public during the height of next year’s presidential election.
Judge Aileen Cannon on Friday signed off on beginning a jury trial next May in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, where the former president has been charged with dozens of felony counts related to the alleged mishandling of classified documents that prosecutors claim he illegally took from the White House shortly before he departed. President Trump has maintained his innocence and stressed in public remarks that he declassified all documents in his possession under the Presidential Records Act. His lawyers previously asked for a total pause to the trial while the discovery of evidence continues.
Trump classified documents trial will be six months before 2024 election. pic.twitter.com/1FKJrFUi7Y
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) July 21, 2023
Special counsel Jack Smith, who is overseeing the government’s case against Trump, has signaled he intends to prosecute Trump under the 1917 Espionage Act by arguing the documents taken represent threats to national security and contained sensitive information about America’s nuclear arsenal and military readiness. President Trump has called the case another example of “political hit jobs” performed by Smith, who has a history of unsuccessfully prosecuting politicians like former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell whose guilty verdict on bribery charges was later overturned by the Supreme Court.
In addition to the 38 counts against President Trump, Smith has privately hinted that he may bring upwards of 45 additional charges related to the classified documents. Earlier this week, news leaked that the Justice Department, which appointed Smith to the case, may seek to bring yet another indictment against President Trump related to statements and actions surrounding the January 6, 2021 riots at the Capitol and the 2020 election.
As President Trump continues to maintain his iron grip over the Republican presidential field, his party has largely rallied behind him as voters believe the Biden Justice Department’s case is tainted by politics and intended to smear the top contender against President Joe Biden next year. Even his campaign rivals have jumped on the bandwagon with businessman Vivek Ramaswamy calling on all challengers to pledge they will pardon Trump should any of them be elected next year.