The federal judge presiding over the prosecution of former President Donald J. Trump in the classified documents case set an aggressive schedule on Tuesday, ordering a trial to begin as soon as Aug. 14.

The timeline set by the judge, Aileen M. Cannon, is likely to be delayed by extensive pretrial litigation — including over how to handle classified material — and its brisk pace seems in keeping with a schedule set under the Speedy Trial Act. In each of four other criminal trials the judge has overseen that were identified in a New York Times review, she has initially set a relatively quick trial date and later pushed it back.

The early moves by Judge Cannon, a relatively inexperienced jurist who was appointed by Mr. Trump in 2020, are being particularly closely watched. She disrupted the documents investigation last year with several rulings favorable to the former president before a conservative appeals court overturned her, saying that she never had legitimate legal authority to intervene.

Brandon L. Van Grack, a former federal prosecutor who has worked on complex criminal matters involving national security, said the trial date was “unlikely to hold” considering that the process of turning over classified evidence to the defense in discovery had not yet begun. Still, he said, Judge Cannon appeared to be showing that she intended to do what she could to push the case to trial quickly.

“It signals that the court is at least trying to do everything it can to move the case along and that it’s important that the case proceed quickly,” Mr. Van Grack said. “Even though it’s unlikely to hold, it’s at least a positive signal — positive in the sense that all parties and the public should want this case to proceed as quickly as possible.”

But it is not clear that the defense wants the case to proceed quickly. Mr. Trump’s strategy in legal matters has long been to delay them, and the federal case against him is unlikely to be an exception. If a trial drags past the 2024 election and Mr. Trump wins the race, he could, in theory, try to pardon himself — or he could direct his attorney general to drop the charges and wipe out the case.

In public remarks after the indictment against Mr. Trump and one of his aides, Walt Nauta, was filed two weeks ago in Federal District Court in Miami, the special counsel, Jack Smith, who oversaw the investigation, said he wanted a speedy trial.

The schedule that Judge Cannon set forth in her order on Tuesday clearly does that, requesting that all pretrial motions be filed by July 24.

She also ruled that the trial — and all the hearings in the case — will be held at her home courthouse in Fort Pierce, Fla., a small town in the northern portion of the Southern District of Florida. Mr. Trump’s arraignment was held in the federal courthouse in Miami.

Pretrial proceedings in the case are highly unlikely to be done by August. Legal experts have identified a series of complicated matters that Judge Cannon, the defense and the prosecution will have to work through before the matter is ready to go in front of a jury.

For one thing, following Judge Cannon’s orders, Mr. Trump’s lawyers started the process of obtaining the security clearances needed to deal with the significant classified evidence issues in the case only last week. The background check process to obtain the clearances can take months.

Mr. Trump’s legal team is also still in flux. Mr. Nauta’s lawyer, Stanley Woodward Jr., is still interviewing Florida-based lawyers to assist him with the case. He expects to have someone in place when Mr. Nauta is arraigned next week.

Beyond the array of legal tactics that Mr. Trump’s lawyers may use to attack the validity of the charges against him, the parties in the case will also have to engage in significant closed-door litigation over how to handle the classified evidence at the heart of the government’s prosecution. Mr. Trump has been accused of illegally holding on to 31 individual national defense documents, many of which were marked as top secret.

Much of the secret litigation will take place under the aegis of the Classified Information Procedures Act. If the government does not agree with any of Judge Cannon’s rulings involving the act, it can pause pretrial proceedings and appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, in Atlanta. (The defense would have to wait until after any conviction to appeal an evidentiary issue under the act.)

Mr. Trump’s lawyers are expected to file a battery of pretrial motions, including one claiming that he is being selectively prosecuted while other public officials investigated for mishandling classified material — chief among them, Hillary Clinton — did not face charges.

The former president’s legal team may also file motions accusing prosecutors of various types of misconduct or seeking to suppress audio notes by one of his lawyers, which the government obtained before the indictment and was filed by piercing the traditional protections of attorney-client privilege.

Depending on how seriously Judge Cannon considers the claims made in those filings, she could order additional briefs, attestations and hearings, further slowing down the process.

The preliminary court calendar underscores how Mr. Trump’s decision to press ahead with his political campaign, now a key part of his defense, could affect the broader presidential primary race. The first Republican debate is scheduled for Aug. 23 in Milwaukee. Mr. Trump has not said whether he is attending and has signaled he might skip the first two debates.

The second debate is scheduled for September, and there is expected to be one each month through the end of the year. Depending on the court calendar, Mr. Trump’s political plans could again coincide with court dates.

What’s more, this is not Mr. Trump’s only court proceeding. His trial in a Manhattan state court, on charges stemming from hush money payments to a porn actress during the 2016 presidential campaign, is set to begin in March. A second defamation trial, brought by a New York writer who claimed Mr. Trump raped her decades ago, is set to begin in January.

The former president is also facing the prospect of at least one more indictment. Prosecutors in Fulton County, Ga., may bring charges in connection with his efforts to stay in office. Mr. Smith, the special counsel, is also still investigating issues related to Mr. Trump’s efforts to cling to power after losing the 2020 election.


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