Trump asks judge to postpone Mar-a-Lago case till after 2024 elections
Arguing against the December trial date, Trump’s lawyers claim that challenges will arise in selecting a jury before the 2024 election.
The federal judge overseeing the Mar-a-Lago case was asked by former US President Donald Trump to indefinitely postpone scheduling a trial date on Monday and suggested that the trial not take place until after the 2024 presidential election.
The request in the papers submitted by Trump’s lawyers as a reply to the US Justice Department’s motion to hold the trial this coming December showed Trump's clear wish to delay proceedings, hoping that the case may be dropped if he wins the upcoming election.
In the 12-page court filing to US district court judge Aileen Cannon, Trump’s lawyers argued that Cannon should not set a tentative trial date until the pre-trial motions were completed as they could not determine the length of the discovery process.
“The court should, respectfully, before establishing any trial date, allow time for development of further clarity as to the full nature and scope of the motions that will be filed,” the filing stated.
His case will be tried under the rules set out in the Classified Information Procedures Act, or Cipa, which provides a mechanism to charge cases involving classified documents but without risking the “graymail” issue.
That issue entails a threat by the defense to expose classified information at trial, but the steps themselves require a longer time to follow.
The process involves the government turning over the classified information intended for use to the defense in discovery, like any criminal case, alongside non-classified discovery done in a separate process.
'Requested schedule is unrealistic'
The argument by Trump’s lawyers states that the amount of discovery means that the length of the process is indeterminable. The government is releasing the material in batches because of the massive amount of evidence and the fact that it has not finished processing everything received from search warrants.
“From a practical manner, the volume of discovery and the Cipa logistics alone make plain that the government’s requested schedule is unrealistic,” Trump’s lawyers wrote.
Arguing against the December trial date, Trump’s lawyers claim that challenges will arise in selecting a jury before the 2024 election, which is why the trial should wait until after it was over.
However, the lawyers did not address why Cannon could not at least set a tentative schedule that sets out how the pre-trial process for classified and non-classified materials should work, instead of proceeding with no schedule.
Cipa's statute states that a timetable should be scheduled by the judge for the classified discovery at the very start of a “Section 2 hearing." All parties agreed that the hearing could take place on July 18.
Trump is accused of compromising national security by illegally storing top secret military plans and nuclear weapons information at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. He has claimed that the Department of Justice is being used against him.
The case is one among many legal issues that could prevent him from winning re-election to the White House in 2024.