Trump Seeks Delay in Classified Documents Trial – Former U.S. President Donald Trump has requested a federal judge to postpone his trial on a 37-count indictment. The indictment accuses him of unlawfully taking classified documents to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida after his presidency ended, and subsequently conspiring with his aide, Walt Nauta, to prevent government investigators from recovering them.
Initially, prosecutors had requested a delay until December 11, extending the original trial date of August 14, to allow more time for both sides to prepare. However, Trump and Nauta argued in a court filing on Monday that the proposed December trial date was “unrealistic” and would not provide them with sufficient time to adequately prepare. Nauta is facing six charges in relation to the case.
“The court should therefore withdraw the current order setting trial and postpone any consideration of a new trial date,” Trump’s lawyers told Cannon, adding that a continuance was both necessary and appropriate. Special counsel Jack Smith, who is handling the prosecution of the classified documents case against Trump and Nauta, has not responded immediately.
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Smith is also conducting an investigation into the former president’s involvement in challenging his 2020 reelection loss to Joe Biden and the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot by Trump supporters during the certification of Biden’s victory. Current national polls indicate that Trump is the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. Trump recently pleaded not guilty to the charges related to the classified documents in a federal court in Miami.
He has frequently criticized Smith’s pursuit of the criminal investigations against him, labeling it a “witch hunt” and even referring to the prosecutor as a “crackhead” last week. In their filing on Monday, Trump’s legal team argued that the proposed December trial date by the Justice Department would interfere with his presidential campaign. They also cited the need to thoroughly review a potentially large volume of evidence before the trial.
The Classified Information Procedures Act, which governs trials involving classified material, establishes guidelines for the protection and disclosure of such evidence. The race for the November 2024 election will commence with the Republican caucuses in Iowa on January 15, followed closely by primary elections in other states. In addition to the ongoing legal proceedings, Trump is facing another criminal case scheduled for a trial in March in a New York state court.
The case alleges that Trump manipulated business records of his family’s real estate conglomerate to conceal $130,000 in hush money payments made to a porn star before the 2016 election, aimed at preventing her from publicly discussing their alleged one-night encounter a decade earlier. It is claimed that Trump tampered with the records following his successful election in 2016.
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Trump has consistently denied the alleged affair and all other political-related accusations brought against him. One such ongoing case is in Georgia, where a state prosecutor is expected to make a decision in early August regarding potential charges against Trump and key associates for their alleged illegal efforts to overturn his narrow 2020 loss to Biden. In a recorded phone conversation in early 2021, Trump urged Georgia election officials to “find” 11,780 votes, one more than the margin of his defeat.
In the classified materials case in Florida, the indictment alleges that Trump illegally retained 31 documents that “included information regarding defense and weapons capabilities of both the United States and foreign countries; United States nuclear programs; potential vulnerabilities of the United States and its allies to military attack; and plans for possible retaliation in response to a foreign attack.”
Once his presidency ended on January 20, 2021, the indictment said, “Trump was not authorized to possess or retain those classified documents.” At various times, the indictment alleges that Trump stored boxes of the documents in a bathroom and shower stall at Mar-a-Lago, on a ballroom stage, and in a bedroom, an office and a storage room.
As a former president, Trump could have sought a waiver of the requirement that only people with a “need to know” could continue to retain and look at the documents, but the indictment said that the former president “did not obtain any such waiver after his presidency.” The indictment against Trump, consisting of 37 counts, claims that the former president collaborated with Nauta in an attempt to conceal the documents from his attorney, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the grand jury overseeing the case.
In addition to the aforementioned charges, Trump is alleged to have provided investigators with false statements and instructed the relocation of boxes to different areas within his Mar-a-Lago estate, with the intention of preventing his lawyer from locating all the documents that had been subpoenaed by federal authorities.