IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Cannon sets August date, but don’t expect Trump’s trial to happen then

The Florida judge’s scheduling order is just a formality. To the Trump appointee’s credit, it’s not shady.


Judge Aileen Cannon has entered an order on Donald Trump’s federal docket setting a trial date as early as Aug. 14. But don’t expect that to happen. The order is a formality, and the date will inevitably be pushed back.  

Rights to a speedy trial provide for a trial within 70 days from indictment. But with defense motions and other routine issues, trials generally don’t happen that quickly in normal cases. And this isn’t a normal case.

Putting aside Trump’s status as a former president and current candidate, the complexities surrounding the classified information at issue would be more than enough to push any trial well beyond August. The bigger question is how far before the 2024 presidential election this case could be tried, if at all. Tuesday’s order doesn’t answer that question.

Considering the sensitivity of timing in this case, it’s entirely reasonable to keep a close eye on Cannon’s scheduling moves, given her previous shady attempt to hold up Trump’s classified documents investigation last year. Again, don’t expect her to be kicked off the case for that; she’ll most likely have to do something newly shady, and Tuesday’s routine scheduling order underscores that she hasn’t done so yet.

Trump faces 37 federal counts — 31 for alleged violations of the Espionage Act, counts that are related to his retention of national security information, and six for allegedly attempting to cover up his actions and obstruct the investigation. He pleaded not guilty to the charges last week at his arraignment in Miami.

Trump is charged alongside aide Walt Nauta, who faces six charges related to the alleged cover-up. He still needs to be arraigned, making an August trial date even less likely. Nauta is expected to plead not guilty next week, according to NBC News.

So, we still have no idea when this trial will be held, if ever — but it almost certainly won’t be this summer.

Subscribe to the Deadline: Legal Blog newsletter for weekly updates on the top legal stories, including news from the Supreme Court, the Donald Trump investigations and more.