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Judge Cannon Signals She May Postpone Trump Classified Docs Trial

On Wednesday afternoon, lawyers representing former President Donald Trump attended a hearing in Fort Pierce, Florida before Judge Cannon.

At the hearing, they sought to postpone the trial for classified documents which is currently scheduled for May 2024. The previous day, Trump and his attorneys had visited a SCIF (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility) to view material related to Jack Smith’s case which was leaked to ABC News.

Judge Aileen Cannon last month paused litigation in Jack Smith’s classified documents case to consider a motion by President Trump’s attorneys for an extension of deadlines related to the discovery of classified material.

Chris Kise and Todd Blanche, representing President Trump, alleged that prosecutors were engaging in dilatory tactics that were delaying the production of evidence, thus making the May trial date “unworkable”.

On July 18, 2023, the Special Counsel’s Office represented to the Court that ‘all’ discovery would be available on ‘day one.’” Trump’s lawyers wrote last month.

Blanche and Kise also noted that the Florida classified documents trial for Jack Smith, scheduled for May 20, and the separate trial in Washington D.C. regarding President Trump’s purported attempts to impede a peaceful transition of power, slated for March 4, will necessitate “Trump and his lawyers to be in two places at once.”

“The March 4, 2023 trial date in the District of Columbia, and the underlying schedule in that case, currently require President Trump and his lawyers to be in two places at once,” Trump’s lawyers wrote, according to CBS News. “And, months after the Office’s representation to the Court, discovery is not complete in this case—including with respect to the classified documents at issue in more than 25% of the [Espionage Act] counts in the Superseding Indictment.”

It appears that Jack Smith’s strategy of scheduling simultaneous court dates in both Washington D.C. and Florida has been successful, with Judge Cannon considering the possibility of postponing Trump’s trial. Additionally, Julie Kelly reported that one of Smith’s prosecutors was admonished during Wednesday’s hearing.

Judge Cannon is deliberating a potential modification to the trial schedule, and has yet to issue a ruling on the subject as of Wednesday.

CNN reported:

The federal judge overseeing Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago document-mishandling case cast doubt on the viability having a trial in May 2024, signaling she may postpone the criminal proceedings.

During a hearing Wednesday in south Florida, US District Judge Aileen Cannon raised concerns that the defense team wouldn’t be able to complete trial preparations between now and the spring as they handle other cases for Trump and a stacked trial schedule.

“I’m having a hard time seeing how this work can be accomplished realistically in this period of time,” Cannon said.

Cannon told Justice Department prosecutor Jay Bratt, who asked to keep the trial schedule as is: “I’m not seeing in your position a level of understanding to these realities.”

Cannon did not issue a ruling in court on Wednesday.

In July, an indictment was issued to Donald Trump with 31 counts of willful retention of national defense information and six additional process crimes resulting from conversations between himself and his attorney.

Jack Smith added three further charges as part of the superseding indictment in the classified documents case.

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Joe Messina

Joe Messina

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