The judge sets the start of Trump’s trial over the classified Mar-a-Lago papers on May 20

Not after the presidential election in November 2024, as Donald Trump’s defense wanted, nor in December as the Special Prosecutor appointed by Department of Justice, Jack Smith. Eileen M. Cannon, the judge in charge of the classified Mar-a-Lago papers case, on Friday set the trial to begin May 20 in Fort Pierce, a Florida city about 200 kilometers from Miami, where her position as federal judge is.

The decision has been made After an appointment with the two parties to discuss previous issues last Tuesday, assuming the issue is settled in the middle of the campaign to conquer the White House in November 2024, in which Trump, who has a more than 30-point advantage over the second-best candidate (Florida Governor Ron DeSantis), has all the votes to be elected as the Republican nominee. Everything also indicates that he will once again face President Joe Biden, who aspires to recertification. Trump sees this whole legal process as an attempt to destroy his electoral prospects.

The announcement comes at the end of the week That began with Trump posting on his social network, Truth, that he had received a letter from Smith last Sunday informing him that he was under investigation by a grand jury in Washington over the events that mediated between his November 2020 election defeat against Biden, a defeat he still refuses to concede, and the attack on Capitol on January 6, 2021, committed by a mob of his supporters After a rally in Washington on the day Congress was to witness a lawful and peaceful transfer of presidential power. This notification can be interpreted as an indication that a new inclusion is imminent.

This will be the third, after those relating to documents he took without permission from the White House to his private residence in Mar-a-Lago and pending on him over an alleged payment of black money to porn actress Stormy Daniels to silence an extramarital affair between the two, weeks before the 2016 election that brought him to the White House.

Historic milestone

This indictment was issued in New York and was a landmark: No former US president has ever experienced the euphoria of being arrested. The law does not prevent the defendant, nor even the convicted person, from campaigning. nor that, if elected, he would be president. The trial in Manhattan is scheduled to begin in March 2024. It will be interesting to see how each of the judges, New Yorker and Florida, organize themselves so as not to get in the way.

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A potential fourth indictment is also pending, this time in Atlanta, as a grand jury is investigating Trump for allegedly pressuring election officials to overturn the November 2020 poll result.

In the case of Mar-a-Lago leaves The former president is on trial for handling hundreds of confidential or confidential documents that he took without authorization to his private residence in Palm Beach, also a hotel and social club, when he left the White House in January 2021. These papers, like those of any US president upon leaving office, belong by law to the National Archives. He is also accused of refusing to return them when repeatedly asked by the authorities. This resistance led to an FBI search on August 8, 2022, in which 48 boxes were seized.

An image included in the statement of objections shows boxes of documents in the Mar-a-Lago bathroom.HANDOUT (AP)

He later learned that part of those secret documents had been on stage for two months at the Oro y Blanco auditorium, the younger of the two in residence, space in the club’s main building, Which has hundreds of members and more than 150 employees. Then they moved some of the boxes to the office of the west wing of the complex, which housed A.J SpaGift shop, gyms, outdoor pool and patio. When an employee asked for a room to be emptied to house his office, dozens of boxes ended up in the “Lake Room” bathroom. Soon after, Trump ordered a basement warehouse cleared to hold 80 boxes. The indictment — an explosive 49-page document released just days before Trump appeared in federal court in downtown Miami on a sweltering June morning that turned his supporters into a circus — says the door to that space was once open.

Because of this, the billionaire faces 37 charges: 31 of them, for willful retention of national defense information contained in several documents; three, for safekeeping and concealment of papers from federal investigations; two vanities. and the last, for his conspiracy to obstruct the performance of justice with one of his employees, Walt Naota. This, in addition, is accused of doubling duties as a mover and assisting his boss in managing sensitive materials, as well as lying to the authorities.

In Mar-a-Lago Papers There is information on the defense capabilities of the United States and other countries, details of nuclear programs and potential vulnerabilities in the event of a foreign attack, as well as response plans in this eventuality. Although there is no record that any of the people they contacted without the relevant authorization intended to spy, the charge sheet concludes that the mere possibility endangers “foreign policy, national security, the armed forces and their sources of information”.

The choice of Judge Cannon, a Trump appointee in 2020, raised suspicion because she made a decision in favor of the defense during the investigation of the process — she agreed to the Trump team’s request to hire a special expert to review documents seized by the FBI — which the appeals court later had to correct. Initially, Cannon set a tentative date for the start of the trial: next August 14. As it turned out, it wasn’t realistic, given the complexity of the case and the abundance of evidence that the grand jury, made up of citizens from Florida, Trump’s home state, would have to examine.

Cannon was born in Cali, Colombia. 42 years ago, of Cuban descent. She has experience working in circuit court, was a former Assistant U.S. Attorney for Florida, and is affiliated with the Federalist Association, a staunch conservative and libertarian legal organization that advocates for a literal reading of the United States Constitution. In addition to managing the rate of progression of a case, their work includes issuing opinions that determine the course of the process, determining admissible evidence, and issuing a sentence if the former chief is found guilty.

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