Federal Judge Denies Trump’s Request to Delay Deadline in Classified Documents Case

Caden Pearson
By Caden Pearson
February 15, 2024Donald Trump
Federal Judge Denies Trump’s Request to Delay Deadline in Classified Documents Case
Former President Donald Trump arrives for a pre-trial hearing in a hush-money case at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City on Feb. 15, 2024. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The federal judge overseeing the classified documents case against former President Donald Trump in Florida has denied, with clarifications, the former president’s request to postpone the deadline for pretrial motions.

In a paperless order issued on Feb. 15, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon said that the deadline for pretrial motions remains Feb. 22, but with an allowance for potential extensions based on developments in the ongoing legal proceedings.

“The deadline to file pre-trial motions (as distinct from motions in limine seeking the exclusion of specific evidence/arguments from being presented during trial) remains February 22, 2024,” Judge Cannon said in her order.

The court clarified that while the original deadline stands, the Southern District of Florida may entertain additional arguments post-deadline, contingent on the outcome of President Trump’s motion to compel discovery.

Judge Cannon said that if the motion to compel “yields a specified need” for any party to supplement previously filed motions that can’t reasonably be filed before the current deadline, the court “will consider such arguments as appropriate, but only upon a particularized and timely showing that events post-dating February 22, 2024, clearly justify additional pre-trial briefing.”

Previous Motions

President Trump filed a motion on Feb. 6, urging an extension of the pretrial motions deadline on behalf of all defendants, citing the need for “adequate time to file certain motions.”

The defense indicated its intention to file suppression motions and motions relating to the evidence they sought in the pending motions to compel “within one month” of the court resolving those matters.

Special counsel Jack Smith’s office, responsible for prosecuting the case, opposed the defense’s request on Feb. 8, characterizing it as a tactic to “indefinitely” stall the trial.

Mr. Smith’s office argued that the former president had previously attempted to delay proceedings on at least four occasions and suggested the defense plans to claim presidential immunity in an upcoming motion, similar to President Trump’s defense in the Jan. 6 case also prosecuted by Mr. Smith.

Prosecutors have also argued that the defense has known of the deadlines for months but has “made no request to upend it until now.”

Since the defense’s initial motion and the prosecutor’s first responding motion, both parties have filed subsequent responses to motions.

In a Feb. 14 filing responding to Mr. Smith’s objection, defense attorneys argued that all of the delays in the case thus far have been due to the prosecutors’ actions.

President Trump’s legal team has argued that prosecutors have been slow to provide them with requested documents, which Mr. Smith has stated he has had “from day one.”

As early as June 2023, the special counsel’s office said it had moved “swiftly” to provide President Trump with all the unclassified discovery material in the case. In July 2023, Mr. Smith’s office said it had “all the discovery and been able to produce it and to have the case ready from our perspective to go to trial.”

Defense attorneys argued that this “was not true” and that it was not until months into the case that the special counsel set up a secure facility in the Southern District of Florida where the defendants could review classified discovery materials. The judge has also noted this.

Furthermore, the defense argued that the prosecutors continued to serve the unclassified discovery they purported to have on “day one.” They claim the prosecutors have gone to “great lengths” to delay their access to materials.

Defense Finally Receives Material

To this point, on Feb. 14, the same day that prosecutors argued against the former president’s motion to delay, they provided the defense with 750 pages of material, some of it classified, which defense attorneys said they had been requesting for months.

Meanwhile, prosecutors have argued that they have done what they can to make the material easily accessible to the defense, but some information is not in their possession and not what the defense is entitled to.

President Trump faces 40 counts related to mishandling classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. The trial, initially scheduled for May 20, has faced delays in pretrial proceedings due to challenges in reviewing and obtaining a substantial volume of evidence from the prosecution.

Judge Cannon had previously acknowledged the possibility of a delay due to the complexity of the evidence, resetting deadlines accordingly. The new deadline for motions to compel was Jan. 16, and the subsequent deadline for pretrial motions is Feb. 22.

President Trump’s attorneys would prefer not to litigate this case into the election season with their client as the presumptive Republican nominee.

Catherine Yang contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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