U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan extended a motions deadline in the case special counsel Jack Smith is prosecuting against former President Donald Trump, striking a compromise between the two parties.
President Trump’s team has been after substantial amounts of government material, including “missing” Jan. 6 Select Committee documents, in an effort to investigate the 2020 elections while exonerating the former president. He has been charged with interfering with the 2020 elections through “deceit,” resulting in a four-count indictment to which he has pleaded not guilty. In recent filings, it was revealed that the prosecution has not been completely forthcoming with producing discovery.
The defense requested a brief deadline extension to file motions to compel, and a longer extension—to February 2024—for the deadline to subpoena.
Judge Chutkan set a new deadline of Nov. 27 for motions to compel, and Dec. 13 for subpoenas.
“This will permit the parties to further confer regarding any outstanding discovery requests, and will allow him [defendant] time to file motions with respect to any unresolved disputes,” she wrote.
“After that deadline, Defendant may seek leave to file any additional motions for good cause—for instance, if the motions are related to discovery produced by the government following that deadline. That will preserve Defendant’s right to raise motions with respect to all government discovery.”
The judge also deemed President Trump’s arguments “unpersuasive,” and that the requested February deadline was unworkable.
“On that schedule, those motions would not be ripe until March 1, 2024, three days before the trial is scheduled to begin—after which the court would have to rule, the subpoenas (if any) would have to issue, the materials would have to be produced, and Defendant would have to review them, all of which could take considerable time,” she explained in her opinion attached to the order.
She summarized the defense’s arguments in three points: that the prosecution’s discovery productions were not organized, that the volume of documents needed to be reviewed is great, and that allowing more time for review of evidence would result in a more orderly process.
Judge Chutkan referred to responses filed by the prosecutors and stated that the government used best practices in producing discovery.
She also said the volume of documents is something the defense has brought up multiple times and has already been considered. Some 13 million pages have already been produced, and defense attorneys have argued that they need more time to review these documents and to confer or file motions if they discover issues, including incompleteness.
Judge Chutkan said the March 4, 2024, trial date is appropriate, even given the volume of discovery materials.
“And in the interests of justice, the court must weigh—as it has—any requests for additional time to review those materials ‘against the disadvantages of backloading the pretrial schedule,'” she added.
Oppositions to motions to compel will need to be filed by Dec. 11, and replies in support of the motions need to be filed by Dec. 18.
Oppositions to motions for rule subpoenas need to be filed by Dec. 27, and replies need to be filed by Jan. 3, making for a busy schedule during the holiday season.
“Following these deadlines, Defendant may request leave to late-file a motion for good cause, and the court will consider that request,” the judge wrote, granting in part and denying in part the request for extended deadlines.
The judge has thus far ruled in such a manner where small requests from the defense are granted in part, but major changes have not been permitted, holding fast to the March 4 trial date and schedule.
A motion to recuse herself from the request was denied, as was a motion to lift a gag order she imposed after the prosecution requested one. Judge Chutkan had lifted it for a few days while both parties submitted arguments, but ultimately reinstated it. It has since been lifted by an appeals court as President Trump seeks an emergency ruling on the order.
President Trump’s team has also filed four separate motions to dismiss the case entirely based on different legal grounds, as well as a motion to strike “inflammatory statements” from the original indictment.
From The Epoch Times