Judge sets May 2024 date for Donald Trump secret documents trial, as 45’s legal woes persist

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Donald Trump‘s trial for mishandling top secret documents will begin on 20 May of next year. US District Court Judge Aileen Cannon has ordered a jury trial of the former president. Trump is now the first ever US president to face criminal charges, the judge presiding over the case has said.

Prosecutors had asked for the trial to begin in December. Meanwhile Trump’s defence attorneys had requested that it be held after the November 2024 presidential election.

77-year-old Trump is the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination and the trial will be held at the height of the primary campaign to select the Republican nominee for the election.

There are a number of key ongoing cases involving the 77-year-old one-term president:

Classified documents

Trump is accused of endangering national security by holding on to top secret nuclear and defence documents after leaving the White House. These documents included records from the Pentagon, CIA, and National Security Agency. Trump kept the files unsecured at his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida and thwarted official efforts to retrieve them, according to the indictment.

The court is charging him with 31 counts of “willful retention of national defense information,” each punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

He also faces charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice, making false statements and other offences.

Read on...

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Stormy hush money

In addition, a New York grand jury has indicted Trump in March over hush money payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels.

Prosecutors say the money was paid prior to the 2016 election to silence Daniels over claims she had a tryst with Trump in 2006.

Late in the campaign, Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen arranged a payment of $130,000 to Daniels. This was in exchange for her pledge of confidentiality.

That case, in which he faces 34 felony counts, is due to go to trial next March. This is in the middle of the Republican primary election season.

Capitol attack

Trump confirmed that he has received a letter from the special counsel. He said it stated that he’s a target of the investigation into the attack on the Capitol by his supporters. Those invading the Capitol were seeking to halt the congressional certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory.

Trump said he was given four days to report to a grand jury. He said that this “almost always means an Arrest and Indictment.”

Trump did not specify what charges he may face. A Trump advisor told The Washington Post the former president would decline to testify before the grand jury in Washington.

Before the Capitol attack, Trump delivered a fiery speech nearby urging the crowd to “fight like hell.”

Georgia election meddling

A prosecutor in Georgia is assembling a grand jury to investigate Trump. The state is charging him with trying to overturn Biden’s 2020 election victory. Evidence includes a taped phone call. In it, Trump asked the then-secretary of state to “find” enough votes to reverse the result.

The top prosecutor in Georgia’s Fulton County, Fani Willis, has assembled a special grand jury that could see Trump facing conspiracy charges connected to election fraud.

In unusually public remarks, the grand jury’s forewoman in February said the 23-member panel had recommended indictments of multiple people, including “certainly names that you would recognize.” She did not say whether Trump was among them.

Other probes

A civil court previously found Trump liable in a civil case for sexually abusing and defaming an American former magazine columnist, E. Jean Carroll, in 1996, and ordered him to pay her $5 million in damages.

In New York, the state attorney general Letitia James has filed a civil suit against Trump and three of his children, accusing them of fraud by over-valuing assets to secure loans and then under-valuing them to minimise taxes.

James is seeking $250 million in penalties as well as banning Trump and his children from serving as executives at companies in New York.

Trump has denied all wrongdoing.

Featured image by Marc Nozell/Wikimedia Commons via CC 2.0, resized to 1910×1000

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse

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