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A federal judge in Florida has announced a preliminary start date of Aug. 14 for the trial of former President Donald Trump in the case involving his handling of classified documents.
“U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon bookmarked the last two weeks in August for the historic trial, part of an omnibus order setting some early ground rules and deadlines for the case. That would represent a startlingly rapid pace for a case that is expected to be complicated and require lengthy pretrial wrangling over extraordinarily sensitive classified secrets,” Politico reported.
“But a review of Cannon’s criminal cases, since she took the bench in late 2020, suggests this is standard practice for the Florida-based judge. She typically sets trial dates six to eight weeks from the start of a case, only to allow weeks- or months-long delays as issues arise and the parties demand more time to prepare. While her order on Tuesday starts the clock on a slew of important pretrial matters in the Trump case, it’s not likely to resemble anything close to the timeframe that will ultimately govern the case,” the outlet added.
On Monday, Special Counsel Jack Smith picked up an early win in his battle against Trump.
A federal judge approved a protective order sought by Smith to keep Trump from disclosing sensitive information in his classified documents case.
“Smith sought the order to ensure that neither Trump nor codefendant Walt Nauta, Trump’s presidential valet, disclose sensitive information obtained during the discovery process, where prosecutors will show the defense what evidence it has amassed during their investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents since leaving office,” ABC News reported.
The protective order said Trump and Nauta “shall not disclose the Discovery Materials or their contents directly or indirectly to any person or entity other than persons employed to assist in the defense, persons who are interviewed as potential witnesses, counsel for potential witnesses, and other persons to whom the Court may authorize disclosure.”
U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce E. Reinhart that the defense team “not disclose the Discovery Materials or their contents directly or indirectly to any person or entity other than persons employed to assist in the defense, persons who are interviewed as potential witnesses, counsel for potential witnesses, and other persons to whom the Court may authorize disclosure.”
“A knowing violation of this Order by Defendants, Defense Counsel, and Authorized Persons may result in contempt of court or other civil or criminal sanctions,” the order warned.
Last week, a former Trump criminal defense attorney is arguing that the investigation into Trump over alleged mishandling of classified documents may not even go to trial.
During an interview on Fox News, Timothy Parlatore — who served as a criminal defense attorney for Trump until last month — spoke with host Laura Ingraham about Trump appearing in Miami on Tuesday for his arraignment in the case brought against him by Smith, who Biden’s Department of Justice appointed.
Trump pleaded “not guilty” in federal court. If he is found guilty on all counts, Trump — who is President Joe Biden’s chief rival in next year’s presidential election — could face decades in prison.
Parlatore argued he believes there are fundamental flaws with the case, particularly over the grand jury process and breaches of attorney-client privilege. Parlatore said he believes this could result in the entire case being thrown out.
Parlatore said Trump’s attorneys should “attack the conduct of the entire investigation and show through death by a thousand cuts why this entire investigation is irreparably tainted by government misconduct,” adding: “The case, therefore, should be dismissed or, at a minimum, the prosecutor should be disqualified.”
Last week, a concerning report emerged that Smith may execute a “backup plan” if his case in Florida against Trump does not stick.
NYU Law Professors Ryan Goodman and Andrew Weissmann published an op-ed in The Atlantic, where they speculate that if the classified documents case against Trump in Florida falls through, Smith could pursue charges of “dissemination of classified documents” in the state of New Jersey in an entirely separate indictment.
The report goes on to speculate that if the Florida judge were to delay the case proceedings after the 2024 presidential election, Smith could move ahead with charges in New Jersey — a Democrat stronghold that would likely not be favorable to Trump.
The charges “include willful retention of national defense information, conspiracy to obstruct justice, withholding a document or record, corruptly concealing a document or record, concealing a document in a federal investigation, a scheme to conceal, and false statements and representations,” ABC News reported.
“Maximum sentences for the respective charges, per their statutes, range from five up to 20 years, although any eventual sentence should Trump be convicted would likely be much lower,” the outlet added.