Trump Seeks Delay in Fort Pierce Documents Trial Until After the 2024 Election
Fort Pierce - Thursday October 5, 2023: Lawyers for former President Donald Trump have asked a judge to postpone the Fort Pierce classified documents trial until after next year's presidential election, saying they have not received all the records they need to review to prepare his defense.
Trump is accused of illegally hoarding classified documents, one of four felony criminal trials he is facing.
The documents trial is currently scheduled to begin in Fort Pierce Federal Court before U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon on May 20th of next year.
However in a motion filed late Wednesday, Trump's lawyers urged Judge Cannon to push the start of the trial back at least six months to mid-November, after the 2024 presidential election which is set for November 5, 2024. Trump is currently leading the GOP filed of candidates.
The defense lawyers argued that a postponement was necessary because of scheduling conflicts — another federal trial is scheduled for March 2024 in Washington, and one of Trump's attorneys, Christopher Kise, is also representing him in an ongoing civil fraud trail in New York — and because of what they say are delays in obtaining and reviewing the classified records cited in special counsel Jack Smith's indictment.
“The Special Counsel’s Office has not provided some of the most basic discovery in the case," said the motion from Kise and another Trump attorney, Todd Blanche. “Given the current schedule, we cannot understate the prejudice to President Trump arising from his lack of access to these critical materials months after they should have been produced.”
The defense lawyers said they have access to only a “small, temporary facility" in Miami to review classified documents, an arrangement that they say has slowed the process.
Prosecutors with the special counsel last week suggested that the Trump team was seeking unreasonable delays in the case. Though they acknowledged a “slightly longer than anticipated timeframe” for certain procedural steps, the prosecutors said it was false to accuse them of delaying the production of evidence in the case.
They said some of the delays were beyond their control and were due in part to the fact that defense lawyers had lacked the “necessary read-ins to review all material” provided by the government.
The Justice Department says it has so far provided about 1.28 million pages of unclassified documents and has turned over the majority of classified evidence that it anticipates producing. By Friday, prosecutors said, they will provide much of the remaining outstanding classified evidence.
“This production will include certain materials that Defendants have described as outstanding, including audio recordings of interviews and information related to the classification reviews conducted in the case,” prosecutors wrote.
The indictment accuses Trump of illegally retaining at his Palm Beach, Florida, estate, Mar-a-Lago, reams of classified documents taken with him after he left the White House in 2021 and then repeatedly obstructing government efforts to get the records back. He has pleaded not guilty and has denied any wrongdoing.
The defense lawyers say Trump's two co-defendants in the case, his valet Walt Nauta and Mar-a-Lago property manager Carlos De Oliveira, are joining in the request.