The first hearing before US District Judge Aileen Cannon in the federal criminal case against Donald Trump will take place on July 18, according to the court’s order.
The hearing is about the handling of classified information in the case – the first of likely many proceedings on this subject – and may not be held entirely in public due to the sensitivity around the issues.
The date was set after a fight on Monday in which special counsel Jack Smith suggested Trump and co-defendant Walt Nauta were trying to create an “unnecessary” delay by moving it from this coming Friday.
The spat underscored how even the most gradual developments in the historic federal criminal case against Trump and Nauta can be mired in controversy — especially when it comes to schedule because prosecutors want to go to trial in less than six months and Trump’s lawyers are adept at delaying other legal battles he faces.
In Nauta’s filing requesting the delay, the Trump aide cited a bench trial his lead attorney, Stanley Woodward, in Washington, DC, had this week as the reason for proposing the delay.
Smith returned in his filing that Nauta gave no reason why his Florida-based attorney, Sasha Dadan, could not handle the hearing.
“An indefinite continuance is unnecessary, will inject further delay into this case, and is contrary to the public interest,” Smith’s team said in their filing.
In a new filing later Monday, Trump’s defense team and the special counsel’s office said July 18 was a suitable date for the first appearance.
In the fight over when the upcoming hearing on classified procedures will take place, Nauta claimed he had “little notice” that prosecutors would bring the charges in the Southern District of Florida – where he should have one. attorney licensed in the Sunshine State — and said his D.C. attorney’s initial inability to get notices from the docket until now hindered his efforts to flag a scheduling conflict.
Nauta also raised his defense team’s lack of security clearances as an issue, while claiming it was unreasonable to expect his new Florida-based lawyer to lead the way in matters set for discussion at Friday’s hearing “almost a week after he was retained by Mr. Nauta.”
Smith’s team repeated that Woodward, the DC-based attorney, had not yet filled out the form required in the security clearance process.
“Almost a month has passed since the grand jury returned its indictment. There is a strong public interest in the conference taking place as originally scheduled and the case proceeding as quickly as possible,” said the Smith team.
While Trump entered his not guilty plea in the case on June 13, Nauta was only able to enter his not guilty plea last week due to delays in retaining a Florida attorney.
This story has been updated with additional developments.