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Donald Trump trial date set for May 2024 in classified US documents case

Former President Donald Trump will go on trial for alleged mishandling of classified documents in spring next year, a court has ruled.

Judge Aileen Cannon set the case for 20 May. Mr Trump had wanted the trial held after the November 2024 election. Prosecutors wanted it this year.

The high-profile case will begin with the election campaign in full swing.

Mr Trump, 77, faces serious charges over the storage of sensitive files at his Florida home.

Prosecutors say he illegally kept secret documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate after he left office and obstructed government efforts to retrieve them.

The former president has maintained his innocence, lambasting the case as an attempt to destroy his election campaign.

On Friday, Judge Cannon, a Trump appointee, said the two-week trial would take place in Fort Pierce, Florida.

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For prosecutors to secure a conviction in the Mar-a-Lago case, the jury’s decision must be unanimous.

Jurors will be selected from around the Fort Pierce division, which includes several counties that Mr Trump won in 2020.

The former president pleaded not guilty to 37 federal counts during an arraignment in Miami last month.

Lawyers for both sides argued in the Fort Pierce court earlier this week over when the case should be held.

Prosecutors said the evidence was not complicated and there was no need to delay the trial. They wanted it to begin in December.

But lawyers for Mr Trump had argued that the “extraordinary” nature of the case required more time to prepare.

They said their client could not get a fair trial before the November 2024 election.

Opinion polls indicate Mr Trump is the runaway front-runner in the race to become the Republican party candidate who will challenge the Democratic nominee, in all likelihood President Joe Biden, next year.