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Trump classified documents trial will begin in mid-August, judge says

The trial is scheduled to run two weeks but could be delayed by motions from Trump's team, as well as the complexities of the Classified Information Procedures Act.
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Former President Donald Trump's trial in the special counsel's classified documents case will begin in mid-August, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon said in a court order unsealed Tuesday morning.

The trial is scheduled to begin Aug. 14 and run for two weeks, the order says. Cannon will preside over the trial at the federal courthouse in Fort Pierce, Florida.

The start date could be delayed, however, by motions from Trump's legal team and the complexities of the process surrounding the Classified Information Procedures Act, among other things.

Trump has been charged with 37 felony counts related to his retention of classified government documents after he left the White House, according to an indictment unsealed this month. Trump, the first former president to face federal charges, surrendered to authorities in Miami last week. He pleaded not guilty.

The order says prosecutors and defense attorneys must file all pretrial motions — requests to the court seeking rulings on specific issues — before July 24.

The charges are the culmination of the federal government’s multiyear effort to retrieve the documents from Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s private residence in Palm Beach, Florida.

The National Archives, the custodian of presidential records, began asking Trump and his staff to return what it said were missing records in May 2021, according to email communications later made public. Eight months later, in January 2022, Trump aides returned 15 boxes of records to the National Archives, which then discovered that 14 of the boxes contained classified documents.

In August, the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago and found 11 more sets of classified documents, including some labeled “SCI,” which stands for highly classified “sensitive compartmented information."

As the Justice Department continued to investigate Trump's handling of classified documents, as well as his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss, Trump announced another bid for the White House in November, prompting Attorney General Merrick Garland to appoint Jack Smith, a former chief prosecutor for the special court in The Hague, as a special counsel presiding over the two investigations

Trump called the attorney general’s decision at the time “appalling” and a “horrendous abuse of power.”

Some Republicans have rushed to Trump's defense since the indictment was unsealed, comparing his case to that of Hillary Clinton and accusing the Biden administration of weaponizing the Justice Department against its chief political rival, among other accusations.

Other Republicans have criticized Trump's alleged conduct. Trump's former attorney general William Barr said on CBS' "Face the Nation" that the classified documents investigation is "not a circumstance where [Trump is] the victim," adding that Trump "provoked this whole problem himself."

Trump also faces criminal charges in a New York state court, where he pleaded not guilty in April to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records; that trial will begin in March, during the presidential primaries. He also still faces investigations surrounding his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.