Trump seeks trial delay until after 2024 vote
Lawyers for former US President Donald Trump have demanded his federal trial on charges of mishandling classified documents be delayed until after the 2024 presidential election. In a court filing on Monday, they argued the “extraordinary” nature of the case requires a meticulous pace rather than an “expedited” one.
“The Court should, respectfully, before establishing any trial date, allow time for the development of further clarity as to the full nature and scope of the motions that will be filed, a better understanding of a realistic discovery and pre-trial timeline, and the completion of the security clearance process,” the attorneys wrote in their request.
Trump pleaded not guilty last month to 37 felony counts regarding his alleged mishandling of classified documents following his departure from the White House. He has repeatedly insisted he had “every right” to keep the documents in question, arguing they were no longer classified when he took them home. Trump recently told Fox News that he simply did not have time to return the files when asked by federal officials.
The 300-plus documents recovered by the FBI – many during a controversial raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate last August – reportedly included classified national security material related to nuclear secrets and the country’s defense capabilities, as well as a potential attack plan against Iran.
The Republican frontrunner has denounced the case against him as an “evil and heinous abuse of power” as well as a “hoax” and “witch hunt.” Following the indictment, Trump’s polling lead doubled over his closest rival for the Republican 2024 nomination, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and he has been polling significantly ahead of incumbent President Joe Biden.
Trump was also indicted by the state of New York in April on 34 counts of falsifying business records related to the alleged payment of $130,000 in hush money to porn actress Stormy Daniels. The charges unleashed a massive surge in public support, including millions of dollars in campaign contributions and numerous volunteer applications.
The reality TV star-turned-politician has reveled in the campaign against him, describing the indictments as “a great badge of courage” in a speech last month. He is the first former US president to be federally indicted.
Special Counsel Jack Smith, who is handling the documents case, asked Judge Bruce Reinhart last month to move the trial from its original date in August to December. Neither the prosecution nor the defense would have adequate time to prepare under the existing timetable, including by obtaining the required security clearances, he said. The judge recently granted Smith’s request to prohibit Trump and his co-defendant Walt Nauta from disclosing evidence that emerged during the discovery process.