A federal judge in Florida has set a trial date for next May for former president Donald Trump in a case charging him with illegally retaining hundreds of classified documents.
The May 20, 2024 date is a compromise between a request from prosecutors to set the trial for this December and a request from defence lawyers to schedule it after the 2024 presidential election.
If the date holds, it would follow close on the heels of a separate New York trial for Trump on dozens of state charges of falsifying business records.
It also means the trial will not start until deep into the presidential nominating calendar and probably well after the Republican nominee is clear – though before that person is officially nominated at the Republican National Convention.
In pushing back the trial from the December 11 start date that the Justice Department had asked for, District Judge Aileen Cannon wrote that “the Government’s proposed schedule is atypically accelerated and inconsistent with ensuring a fair trial”.
She agreed with defence lawyers that the amount of evidence that would need to be sifted through before the trial, including classified information, was “voluminous”.
“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,” Judge Cannon wrote.
Trump could yet face additional trials in the coming year.
He revealed this week that he had received a letter informing him that he was a target of a separate Justice Department investigation into efforts to undo the 2020 presidential election, and prosecutors in Georgia plan to announce charging decisions within weeks in an investigation into attempts by Trump and his allies to subvert the vote there.