Trump and Jack Smith propose competing trial dates in Mar-a-Lago case

Trump and Jack Smith propose competing trial dates in Mar-a-Lago case

Attorneys for Donald Trump and the special counsel prosecuting him have proposed competing dates for a trial schedule, hours before a key hearing that could set the calendar for the former president and his co-defendants accused of mishandling classified documents after he left the White House.

Special counsel Jack Smith is proposing a trial in the Mar-a-Lago case to start on 8 July, while Mr Trump’s attorneys are suggesting that a trial should start on 12 August, if at all, according to court filings.

His co-defendant Carlos De Oliveira would also be tried on 12 August, under the defendants’ proposed schedule. Co-defendant Walt Nauta would be tried on 9 September.

Mr Trump – the likely nominee for the Republican nomination for president – is charged with a number of crimes, including willful retention of national defence information, conspiracy to obstruct justice, corruptly concealing a document, and concealing a document in a federal investigation, among others. He has pleaded not guilty.

His co-defendants are charged with making false statements, conspiracy to obstruct justice and corruptly altering, destroying, mutilating, or concealing documents, among other charges. They have also pleaded not guilty.

The proposed trial schedule from Mr Trump’s team includes all of the Republican primaries this year – but doesn’t list any dates for hearings on his motions to dismiss the case.

Mr Trump’s attorneys have argued that “a fair trial cannot be held until after the 2024 presidential election is concluded,” and have withheld proposed hearing dates to review his claims that he is “immune” from prosecution, and that Mr Smith was illegally appointed to the role.

Instead, the defendants requested that US District Judge Aileen Cannon hold hearings on those motions after the US Supreme Court issues its ruling in the recently created Trump v United States, which will hear whether Mr Trump is “immune” from criminal prosecution for crimes committed in office.

Alternatively, his trial could begin on 12 August, according to his attorneys.

A trial was tentatively scheduled to begin in May, but that date is all but expected to move on Friday as Judge Cannon presides over a day-long hearing in a Florida courtroom that the former president is expected to attend.

The marathon court hearing – which Mr Tump’s longtime aide Mr Nauta and Mar-a-Lago staffer Mr De Olivera are also expected to attend – will also review multiple motions to dismiss the case and issues surrounding classified materials that are central to the case.