The trial, overseen by federal judge Eileen Cannon, into the alleged misuse of classified documents by former US President Donald Trump is set to begin at the end of May next year.
The decision comes after the former president’s legal team argued that a fair trial could only be held after the 2024 election, and the Justice Department requested an earlier start in December.
Nevertheless, the judge has rejected both requests, opting for an end-May deadline for the trial.
Donald Trump’s legal team was seeking to extend the trial until next November’s presidential election, in which he is contesting as the Republican nominee for the second time.
The case against Trump will begin when his election campaign is at its peak.
According to Sky News, the ruling is seen as a compromise between prosecutors seeking to set the trial for this December and an appeal by Trump’s lawyers to schedule it after the next presidential election in November 2024.
The former president was indicted by a federal grand jury in early June for misuse of classified information in his second indictment.
Trump is also facing indictment for making secret payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels, to which he has pleaded not guilty while denying all charges against him.
The investigation was launched by the Department of Justice (DOJ) last February after more than 100 classified documents were found in boxes at the Republican 2024 presidential candidate’s Mar-a-Lago property.
Trump’s lawyers claimed that all sensitive government documents had been returned, but a subsequent FBI raid in August 2022 discovered more than 100 additional items with classified markings.
Trump also announced Tuesday morning that he had received a “target” letter from the DOJ on the January 6 investigation, while acknowledging that he was troubled by the jury investigation against him.
Criticizing the DOJ in his first appearance Fox News After receiving the letter, Trump said he was the target of an investigation.
He told a town hall in Iowa that he was troubled by the timing of the notification, reiterating that it was because of his standing in the GOP presidential primary race.
The most convicted former president in US history said, “It bothers me. It bothers me to everyone in this incredible, sold-out audience. And it bothers you, too.”
Trump continued, “I got the letter on Sunday night. Think about it. I don’t think he ever sent a letter on Sunday night.”
“And they’re in a hurry because they want to interfere. It’s election interference. It’s election interference. It’s never been done in the history of our country and it’s outrageous.”
Trump further said that the DOJ “has become a weapon for the Democrats.”
In his interview, he also criticized Special Counsel Jack Smith and called him a “deranged prosecutor”.
Smith is currently investigating Trump on two counts. One case focuses on the former president’s retention of classified documents after he left the White House.
The second case relates to Trump’s efforts to reverse his defeat in the 2020 election and block the confirmation of Biden’s victory.
Trump said Tuesday morning on Truth Social that he received a target letter from the DOJ that focused on his role in the Capitol riots.