Special counsel Jack Smith revealed that he would like to start former President Donald Trump’s classified documents trial on July 8, 2024, in a recently released legal filing.

Smith is looking to have Trump go to trial months ahead of the 2024 presidential election, while attorneys representing the former president and likely Republican candidate for this year’s race contend that the trial should start sometime after election day. Smith has led the probe into Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified documents in addition to an investigation examining Trump’s role in the events that unfolded at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Trump “strongly asserts that a fair trial cannot be conducted this year in a manner consistent with the Constitution” with respect to his right to attend the trial and right to run for the presidency, his lawyers stated in a legal filing. Nevertheless, Trump’s team floated Aug. 12 as a start date for the documents trial.

The former president is facing 41 charges related to his alleged mishandling of hundreds of classified documents that federal investigators discovered at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.

Preparation for the trial has been hindered by challenges in determining how to handle the classified documents at the center of the case, according to USA Today. The timeframes that Smith and Trump’s team are pushing for are both behind the schedule proposed by U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, which would have seen the trial start on May 20.

Prosecutors in each of the four cases against the former president are trying to move expeditiously to put Trump on trial ahead of Election Day, while Trump’s representation has lobbied for a slower approach to ensure that he can meet his many obligations and receive fair trials. Trump’s lawyers have asserted that the apparent rush to put him on trial effectively amounts to election interference.

Nick Pope on February 29, 2024
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