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Judge Aileen Cannon says Donald Trump's classified documents trial is not imminent

A federal judge in Florida said Friday the prosecution's proposal to try Donald Trump starting July 8 on charges of hoarding national security documents is unrealistic, while the former president's lawyers suggested starting Aug. 12 or after the November election.

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon scheduled the hearing to map out the scheduling options. Cannon did not immediately rule, but hinted that she did not see the case as being on the cusp of a trial, telling lawyers that “a lot of work remains to be done.”

The Supreme Court’s decision Wednesday to hear Trump’s immunity argument in another federal criminal case against the former president could also cause Cannon to wait for a ruling from the high court. Trump has also claimed immunity from prosecution for taking hundreds of classified documents and retaining them at his home at the Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Fla.

The challenge of how to manage access to the classified documents at the heart of the case, such as who gets to look at them, has slowed preparations for the trial, which Cannon initially scheduled for May 20.

Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith has urged a brisk pace, to ensure a verdict before the election. He proposed a start date of July 8 and laid out a schedule for hearings on pretrial motions.

“This case can be tried this summer,” said prosecutor Jay Bratt, a member of Smith’s team.

Trump's lawyers Todd Blanche and Christopher Kise submitted a calendar showing how Trump's expected court dates in a New York trial on charges he falsified business records, which is expected to start on March 25, would overlap with hearings in the classified records case − and the Republican National Convention in mid-July − if it followed Smith's timeline.

Trump “strongly asserts that a fair trial cannot be conducted this year in a manner consistent with the Constitution,” for both a Sixth Amendment right to attend the trial and a First Amendment right to campaign for president, according to his lawyers.

If the trial is held before the election, Trump's lawyers proposed to start Aug. 12.

“We very much believe that a trial that takes place before the election is a mistake and should not happen,” Blanche said. “The easy solution is to start this trial after the election.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Judge in Donald Trump's classified documents case says trial not soon