Washington- The federal judge overseeing the case involving former President Donald Trump’s handling of sensitive government records has refused for now to postpone his trial until after the November 2024 presidential election, but said she would revisit the issue in several months.
U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon’s 9-page ruling maintains the May 2024 trial date she had scheduled over the summer. But she said she would review the matter again at a conference to be held on March 1, after the proceedings, to determine how classified information will be used in the case.
If the original trial date stands, it would take place weeks before Republicans officially select their presidential candidate.
Last month, Trump’s lawyersto delay the trial until after the November 5 election, citing in part ongoing proceedings in a separate case against Trump brought by special counsel Jack Smith in Washington, DC. The documents case is being heard in federal court in South Florida.
In the DC case, prosecutorswith four counts related to alleged efforts to prevent the transfer of presidential power after the 2020 elections. He to all charges in both cases.
The trial in the election-related case isOn March 4, Trump’s lawyers argued that those proceedings and the timeline in the South Florida case required him and his defense team “to be in two places at once.” The former president’s legal team told Cannon in a statement that the July deadlines were “unachievable.”
The judge’s order
In his order Friday, Cannon said it was “very prudent, given the evolving complexity” of the case, to adjust the first set of deadlines for pretrial cases, but said that Trump’s request to postpone the trial date was “premature.”
Cannon acknowledged other criminal proceedings in which Trump is involved, including a criminal case brought by the Manhattan district attorney. She wrote that the court “cannot ignore the realities of pretrial and trial schedules” in these cases. THEis scheduled to begin March 25.
“While the Special Prosecutor is correct that the trajectory of these cases remains potentially changing, the timelines as they currently stand significantly overlap with the deadlines in this case, presenting additional challenges in ensuring that defendant Trump has sufficient time to prepare for trial and to assist in his defense,” she wrote.
Trump wasstemming from his handling of sensitive government documents that were recovered last year at his Mar-a-Lago resort in South Florida. Thirty-two charges of alleged illegal retention of national defense information correspond to documents bearing classification marks recovered from the station between January and August 2022.
The documents concerned U.S. and foreign military capabilities, U.S. nuclear weapons and foreign military activities, according to the indictment. One of the sensitive documents cited by prosecutors – and reportedly discussed by Trump during a July 2021 meeting at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey – is a Department of Defense memo relating to plans to potential attack on Iran by the United States.in June.
Trump’s request to delay the trial centered largely on what he said were problems with the speed with which prosecutors turned over evidence they had collected. The defense team also raised concerns about the time it would take to establish a secure facility in South Florida, where Trump and his lawyers could review classified evidence.
In addition to asking Cannon to push back the trial date, Trump’s lawyers asked him to revise the timeline for submitting pretrial filings and requests in accordance with a section of the law.(CIPA), a federal law that governs how classified information will be used in a trial.
Prosecutors working with the special prosecutor opposed any delay in the proceedings, pointing out that they had turned over more than 1.2 million pages of evidence to Trump’s lawyers and that the “vast majority” of the classified documents were theirs. arrangement. Smith told Cannon in a filing last month that the government turned over approximately 5,431 pages of classified documents to the defense, as well as four disks of photographs, audio recordings and material taken from electronic devices.
Cannon wrote that the amount of documents involved in the case is “extremely voluminous, even more than initially thought.” She noted that there were “evolving and unforeseen circumstances” that warrant a change to the deadlines set by the court in July.
“They make clear to the Court what due process requires: Defendants need more time to review discovery in this case,” she said in her ruling. “This order seeks to provide this opportunity in a reasonable manner, taking into account the public’s right to a speedy trial.”
Cannon said Smith sought to hide from Trump an “unidentified amount” of documents marked classified, which will be litigated under CIPA and will require the court to review a “significant volume” of information.
Cannonon Trump’s push for a delay last week, and she expressed skepticism about how the timeline in her case would work alongside other criminal proceedings Trump faces.
In addition to federal charges in Washington and state charges in New York, Trump is alsoin Fulton County, Georgia, following alleged attempts to overturn the result of the state’s 2020 election. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Two other people were indicted alongside Trump in the documents case for allegedly obstructing the Justice Department’s investigation: Walt Nauta, an aide to the former president, who faces eight charges, and Carlos De Oliveira, the property manager of Mar-a-Lago, who is indicted on four counts.
Nauta and De Oliveira have pleaded not guilty to all charges.