The Department of Justice (DOJ) has requested that the trial of former President Donald Trump for his handling of classified information be delayed until December, according to several court motions filed Friday.
Trump has been charged by the Justice Department with knowingly withholding classified documents upon leaving the White House and obstructing government efforts to recover the confidential materials. The former president pleaded not guilty to all 37 charges this month and has argued the case is a “witch hunt” aimed at interfering with his 2024 presidential re-election campaign.
Special counsel Jack Smith, who is leading the Justice Department’s investigation, wasted no time in moving Trump’s prosecution forward, earlier promising that the former president would have a “speedy trial” in a Florida court. On Tuesday, US District Judge Aileen Cannon appeared to follow suit, setting the two-week trial to start on Aug. 14.
But Smith has now proposed that the trial be adjourned until December 11, arguing in a court file on Friday that the case will require additional time for Trump’s defense attorney to obtain the necessary security clearance to examine the evidence being used against him.
According to Smith, arrangements are already underway to give Trump’s lawyer “final clearance” to review the classified documents in question, and the Justice Department has already “moved quickly to submit the entire unclassified discovery… to the defense”.
“Even with the prompt production that the government has mandated, the inclusion of additional time for defense counsel to review and digest the discovery, make their own decisions about any production to the government, and for the government to review the same, is reasonable and appropriate. “Smith wrote in his motion.
Smith’s request to postpone the trial date was filed along with two other motions related to the case, including requesting that the court seal the list of witnesses who testified before the special grand jury and prohibit Trump or his co-counsel, Walt Nauta, from speaking to witnesses about the case. Trump’s legal team received the first batch of evidence to be used against him on Wednesday, including “grand jury testimony from witnesses who will testify for the government in the trial of this case,” the subpoena reads. Justice Department evidence.
smith too required a pretrial conference “to establish a schedule for discovery and movement related to any classified information” under the Classified Information Procedures Act on Friday.
“Jack Smith is pushing for a speedy trial and trying to force the Trump team to be the ones to ask for a continuance,” former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti he said on Twitter in response to Smith’s court filings on Friday.
“Although he is asking to move the trial date to December 2023, it is still an extremely early trial date, and his documents argue that the case is straightforward,” Mariotti wrote.
Legal Analyst and Former Alabama Prosecutor Joce Vance He also tweeted that delaying Trump’s trial “was unavoidable” given that “it will take time to get the necessary security clearance and for Trump’s lawyers to review classified materials, which can only happen in a [sensitive compartmented information facility].”
“There’s nothing to be mad about here,” Vance added.
If granted, Trump could appear in federal court for his criminal case just months before the 2024 GOP primary vote in the spring. The former president is the favorite among a packed field of Republican candidates, and even received a boost in the polls after being federally indicted.
Trump is also on the books to appear in March in New York City’s Manhattan court on 34 felony counts related to falsifying business records. The charges stem from the Manhattan district attorney’s investigation into several hush money payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign.
news week has reached out to the Trump campaign by email for comment.