Trial against Trump over secret documents is likely to be delayed

The trial against former US President Donald Trump in the secret documents affair is likely to begin later than the public prosecutor’s office was aiming for. Federal Judge Aileen Cannon said Friday at a hearing in Fort Pierce, Florida, that the July 8 deadline proposed by the prosecution was “unrealistic.” She referred to the large number of legal questions that still need to be clarified before the trial begins.

The judge did not set a date for the start of the trial at the hearing. Trump’s lawyers are demanding that the trial should not begin before the presidential election on November 5th, in which the former president wants to challenge incumbent Joe Biden. Alternatively, they have mentioned August 12th as a possible date for the start of the trial.

Trump is accused of taking numerous secret government files from the White House to his private estate Mar-a-Lago in Florida at the end of his term in office and hiding them there from the reach of the judiciary. The Republican was indicted for this last June. If convicted, he theoretically faces a long prison sentence.

Trump is known for playing for time in judicial proceedings and delaying trials through a series of motions. In the federal case surrounding his attempts to overturn the outcome of the 2020 presidential election and thereby stay in power, he has gone to the US Supreme Court, arguing that he enjoys absolute immunity for actions taken during his time as president.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to Trump’s request to review the issue of immunity. This means that a trial against Trump for election manipulation, originally scheduled for March 4th, is on hold for the time being.

Trump, who is almost certain to win the primaries for this year’s Republican presidential nomination, has been charged in a total of four criminal cases. Two cases are about his campaign against his election defeat in 2020: In addition to the federal case, there is a similar case in the southern state of Georgia.

In Georgia’s capital Atlanta, the responsible court on Friday again addressed the question of whether senior prosecutor Fani Willis should be removed from the case because of an intimate relationship with a prosecutor she hired. At the end of the hearing, Judge Scott McAfee announced that he would make a decision within two weeks. If Willis were to be removed from the case, it would have far-reaching effects on the proceedings.