Federal Judge Aileen Cannon ruled on Friday that the trial for Donald Trump’s prosecution on willful retention of national security information will begin on May 20, 2024. It will be held in her home courthouse in Fort Pierce, Florida.

Trump was indicted on 37 counts last month for illegally keeping classified documents from the White House at his Mar-a-Lago residence after his term in office and attempting to obstruct the Justice Department’s investigation into his wrongdoings. He was arrested and arraigned at the Miami federal courthouse and pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The trial was initially set to begin on August 14. Special Counsel Jack Smith argued that more time was needed to ensure that the classified documents that would be entered as evidence remained confidential, and filed a motion to move the date to December. Trump’s legal team then requested that the trial begin after the 2024 presidential election, in which Trump is the leading Republican candidate. They claimed that his candidacy would make it impossible to assemble a fair jury.

Though she rejected Trump’s appeal, Cannon did announce that the jury pool would be selected from several Florida counties that Trump won in his two previous presidential elections. The chosen date falls right in the middle of the presidential debate season but is two months before the formal start of the general election season.

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Prosecutors from Smith’s office have declined to comment on the judge’s decision to push the start date further than they suggested.

This is the first significant decision that Cannon has had to make regarding the highly complex case. A Trump-appointed judge, Cannon has been under scrutiny since being randomly selected to preside over this trial due to speculated bias and inexperience. Her efforts to appease both sides indicate her desire to prove skeptics wrong.

Despite Cannon’s ruling on Friday, the May 2024 date is subject to change. Trump’s legal team is expected to file an abundance of pretrial motions in an effort to stall the trial as much as possible.

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