A federal judge on Friday set a trial date of May 20 in the sensitive documents case against former President Donald Trump.
If the date holds, the unprecedented trial would unfold deep into the 2024 primary season and before the party conventions in mid-summer.
U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon set the date after reviewing requests from prosecutors for a trial around December and a bid from Mr. Trump’s attorneys for an indefinite delay, as Mr. Trump campaigns as the GOP front-runner for the White House.
Special counsel Jack Smith secured a federal indictment from a grand jury in Florida for Mr. Trump’s alleged storage of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach and efforts to thwart archivists who wanted the papers.
Mr. Trump faces 31 federal counts of willful retention of national defense information and a single count each of conspiracy to obstruct justice; withholding a document or record; corruptly concealing a document or record; concealing a document in a federal investigation; executing a scheme to conceal; and making false statements and representations.
His valet, Walt Nauta, also faces charges related to the movement of documents and representations he made to investigators.
Mr. Trump says he did nothing wrong, citing his powers as a former president, and pleaded not guilty.
Judge Cannon set a trial date for proceedings in Fort Pierce, Florida, while the political world braces for a possible second indictment from Mr. Smith’s team over Mr. Trump’s actions following the 2020 election and in the run-up to the U.S. Capitol attack on Jan. 6, 2021.
Mr. Trump said he received a target letter on Sunday and grand jury activity ramped up in Washington through the week, signaling an indictment could be imminent.
In another case, Mr. Trump faces state charges in New York on 34 counts of falsifying business documents related to hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal — who both alleged extramarital affairs with Mr. Trump — and to a doorman at Trump Tower who alleged Mr. Trump had a love child. Mr. Trump denied all of their claims.
Meanwhile, a prosecutor in Georgia is inching closer to a possible indictment of Mr. Trump over his bid to pressure Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to dig up enough votes to overtake Joe Biden’s narrow victory in the state.
Grand jury selection started this month in Fulton County to determine whether District Attorney Fani Willis has sufficient evidence to bring election interference charges against Mr. Trump and his associates.
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