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Donald Trump defense: 'Unfair' to hold classified documents trial before election

Former President Donald Trump arrives at CPAC on Saturday in National Harbor, Md. Trump is in the courtroom in Fort Pierce, Fla., Friday for a hearing in the classified documents case against him. Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI
Former President Donald Trump arrives at CPAC on Saturday in National Harbor, Md. Trump is in the courtroom in Fort Pierce, Fla., Friday for a hearing in the classified documents case against him. Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI

March 1 (UPI) -- A hearing in the classified documents case against former President Donald Trump ended Friday without a new trial date announcement.

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon adjourned about 3 p.m. EST. The hearing was held so she may determine what classified information can be discussed before the jury when the case goes to trial. She is also considering whether to change the May 20 trial date.

Cannon didn't announce a decision on either issue. She expressed skepticism about the start date, considering Trump is scheduled to go on trial in the hush money case in Manhattan on March 25.

Special counsel Jack Smith's prosecuting team discussed the schedule, CNN reported, with prosecutor Jay Bratt telling Cannon the defense agrees the trial can take place this summer.

Cannon pushed back a little, calling some parts of the schedule that the prosecution is proposing "unrealistic." She added that Trump's Manhattan trial must also be considered.

Special counsel Jack Smith's team of prosecutors is arguing to hold Donald Trump's trial on his handling of classified documents in Florida this summer. The defense wants to wait till after the November election. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI
Special counsel Jack Smith's team of prosecutors is arguing to hold Donald Trump's trial on his handling of classified documents in Florida this summer. The defense wants to wait till after the November election. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI

The prosecution proposed a new start date of July 8. The defense responded, saying holding the trial before the November election is "unfair." However, they proposed Aug. 12 as a possible start date. They argued the prosecution's July 8 start is not possible because of Trump's Manhattan trial.

The prosecution gave clarity on a Department of Justice policy that discourages investigative actions taking place within 60 days of an election. According to Bratt, this does not apply to cases that have already been charged.

Trump arrived shortly before the hearing began at 10 a.m. EST. His appearance comes amid his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

Pretrial motions by both parties have sparred over evidence. Trump's defense team has pushed for access to discovery materials, while the prosecution has pushed back.

The prosecution argued in a hearing last month that sharing some discovery materials with Trump would pose "significant and immediate risks of threats, intimidation and harassment" to potential witnesses.

Cannon agreed that witness safety should be given consideration, but called the prosecution's wish to keep information about up to 40 witnesses redacted "unprecedented."

Trump has also made several attempts to either delay or dismiss the trial.