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Judge indefinitely delays Trump's classified documents criminal trial

The trial had been scheduled to start later this month, but that had long seemed unlikely based on pretrial discussions.

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon has indefinitely postponed former President Donald Trump’s classified documents trial in Florida pending the resolution of multiple pretrial issues.

The trial had been scheduled to start May 20.

“The Court ... determines that finalization of a trial date at this juncture—before resolution of the myriad and interconnected pre-trial and CIPA issues remaining and forthcoming—would be imprudent and inconsistent with the Court’s duty to fully and fairly consider the various pending pre-trial motions before the Court, critical CIPA issues, and additional pretrial and trial preparations necessary to present this case to a jury,” Cannon wrote Tuesday. “CIPA” is a reference to the Classified Information Procedures Act.

“The Court therefore vacates the current May 20, 2024, trial date (and associated calendar call), to be reset by separate order following resolution of the matters before the Court, consistent with Defendants’ right to due process and the public’s interest in the fair and efficient administration of justice,” she added.

In June 2023, Cannon had scheduled the trial to begin in August of that year, but even that timeline was seen as susceptible to delays.

Cannon on Tuesday also scheduled additional hearings on some of the pending issues, with the first one this month and the last one in late July. That schedule would mean the case is unlikely to go to trial before August. Trump has argued that going to trial in the weeks before the November election would amount to political interference because he should otherwise be campaigning.

Trump is waiting on a Supreme Court decision about his claim of presidential immunity in a separate federal case in Washington, D.C., where he is accused of crimes related to the effort to overturn the 2020 election.

He has argued that any decision in that case could influence his other criminal cases, including the ongoing hush money trial in New York.

Former President Donald Trump appears in court in Fort Pierce, Fla., on March 14, 2024 for a hearing in his classified documents case.
Former President Donald Trump appears in court in Fort Pierce, Fla., on March 14 for a hearing in his classified documents case.Lothar Speer

Trump faces dozens of felony charges, including willful retention of national defense information, false statements and representations, conspiracy to obstruct justice, withholding a document or record and corruptly concealing a document. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Trump’s co-defendants Walt Nauta and Carlos De Oliveira have also pleaded not guilty to the related charges against them. Special counsel Jack Smith has accused Nauta, who was Trump’s valet and continued to work for him after he left the White House, and De Oliveira, a property manager at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, of seeking to erase security video at Mar-a-Lago after the Justice Department sought to obtain it. De Oliveira is also accused of making false statements to prosecutors.