Stetson Law professor breaks down the Donald Trump indictment

Lou Virelli
Louis Virelli, courtesy Stetson University College of Law.

Former President Donald Trump was indicted and pleaded not guilty in Miami last week for allegedly improperly handling classified documents and refusing to return them to the government.

According to the AP, “Trump has pleaded not guilty [last Tuesday in Miami] to federal charges alleging that he hoarded classified documents detailing sensitive military secrets and schemed to thwart government efforts to get them back.” There were “37 felony counts — many under the Espionage Act.”

“A federal grand jury in Washington had heard testimony for months, but the Justice Department filed the case in Florida, where Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort is located and where many of the alleged acts of obstruction occurred,” the AP wrote. “The indictment marks the first time in U.S. history that a former president faces criminal charges by the federal government he once oversaw.”

On Tuesday Cafe, we spoke with Stetson University College of Law professor Louis Virelli about what the indictment means and what the court will consider.

Listen to this show:

Judge sets August date for trial

Trump’s criminal trial now has a starting date — August 14. Virelli said that an early trial has its advantages but that it might be delayed.

“If in fact there’s a trial set for August, that’s very aggressive. And that would indicate that Judge [Aileen] Cannon wants this proceeding to be as far from the election as possible in time.

“My opinion should not necessarily matter to her. But from my perspective, I think that’s a good idea. Because I don’t think this trial has anything to do with the forthcoming election, as I just indicated, or at least it doesn’t have to.

“And if President Trump was acquitted that he should be able to run for office unencumbered by the charges, but the only way to do that is to resolve it in a trial.

“I am surprised the defense both would agree to that trial. They don’t necessarily have to agree to it. But I would imagine that Judge Cannon got their input.

“And we’ll see if maybe there are motions for continuance. There are things that the defense can do to push that date out, but an aggressive trial day, I think is useful to separate this case from the pending election, which I think is overall a good idea.”

Watch this show:

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