Judge Cannon sets tentative trial start date of August 14 for Trump documents case

June 21, 2023
Ben Marquis

Former President Donald Trump was criminally indicted recently by Special Counsel Jack Smith on multiple federal felony counts in relation to his alleged mishandling and unauthorized retention of certain sensitive government documents after leaving the White House in 2021.

On Tuesday, the federal judge presiding over the case set a target date of August 14 for an estimated two-week trial to commence, the Conservative Brief reported.

However, that date will almost certainly be pushed back and it is highly unlikely that the trial will actually begin within the next two months.

Judge sets trial start date, other ground rules for proceedings

Politico reported Tuesday that the tentative trial start date of August 14 for former President Trump's documents case was revealed by U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, whom Trump himself nominated and saw confirmed in 2020.

Judge Cannon issued an omnibus order that stated, "This case is hereby set for a Criminal Jury Trial during the two-week period commencing August 14, 2023, or as soon thereafter as the case may be called."

That order also set a date of July 24 for all pre-trial and preliminary motions to be filed and laid out an assortment of other ground rules that would dictate the proceedings prior to, during, and after the trial, including possible sentencing hearings.

In addition to the manner in which motions and proposed orders must be filed, Cannon's order also addressed the submission of evidence exhibits, jury selection and instructions, and any other business before the court that may arise.

Tentative start date will almost certainly be pushed back

Politico further reported that the seemingly rapid trial start date for former President Trump's documents case would almost certainly not hold, and noted that it was typical for Judge Cannon to initially set a trial date around six to eight weeks after the formal start of a case in her court.

However, the outlet also noted that it was typical for such tentative start dates to also be pushed back once motions were filed by both sides and preliminary hearings were held on such matters.

Thus, it is exceedingly likely that, rather than mid-August, the actual trial may not begin until several weeks, if not months later, potentially not even until the calendar has changed to 2024.

Special Counsel Smith wins protective order barring disclosure of discovery information

Meanwhile, ABC News reported Monday that Special Counsel Smith already scored a small initial victory in his prosecution against former President Trump with the approval of a requested protective order covering any and all information that will be revealed through the discovery process.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart granted Smith's request that Trump and his co-defendant, personal valet Walt Nauta, be specifically barred from sharing any information obtained through discovery with anyone not specifically involved in the case, excepting only "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."

Prosecutors had sought the protective order to guard against the potential dissemination of certain "sensitive and confidential information," such as "personal identifiable information, information that reveals investigative techniques, non-public information relating to potential witnesses, and personal information contained on electronic devices and accounts," as well as "information pertaining to ongoing investigations, the disclosure of which could compromise those investigations and identify uncharged individuals."

If Trump should happen to violate that protective order, he could face consequences that include being held in contempt of court as well as other "civil and criminal sanctions."

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