Trial of Trump Classified Documents Delayed as Judge Orders Indefinite Postponement in Florida

Trial of Trump Classified Documents Delayed as Judge Orders Indefinite Postponement in Florida

There is a very small chance that Donald Trump will face a jury in either of the two federal criminal cases against him before the Nov. 5 U.S. election. On Tuesday, a judge decided to put off indefinitely Trump’s trial in Florida on charges of illegally keeping classified documents after leaving office.

Trump was supposed to go to trial on May 20 in the papers case brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith, but both the prosecution and the defense said that date would have to be moved because Trump was running for president again.

Trump nominated Aileen Cannon as a U.S. District Judge in 2020. On Tuesday, she said that the trial would not start on May 20 as planned, but she did not set a new date. Cannon planned for pre-trial meetings to last until July 22.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to 40 federal counts that say he kept secret national security papers at his Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago, after he left office in 2021 and obstructed efforts by the U.S. government to get them back.

Trump is running against Democratic President Joe Biden as a Republican. Biden beat Trump four years ago.

Smith will have a hard time getting either of the federal cases against Trump to trial before the election. On some important legal questions related to the documents case, Cannon has not yet made a decision, but he has made it clear that he supports Trump’s defense.

A different case brought by Smith involves Trump’s attempts to overturn his loss in the 2020 election. The U.S. Supreme Court is likely to agree that past presidents are not completely immune from being charged for actions they took while in office. If that happens, Trump’s case linked to the election will probably be pushed back even more while lower courts figure out which accusations against him are covered by that legal shield.

Trump’s lawyers had said that the papers case trial shouldn’t begin until after the election. However, they also suggested August 12 as a date for the trial after Cannon told them to do so. Smith suggested that the job begin in July.

Trump has four criminal cases going on right now, but his lawyers have tried to put them off.

“This has never happened before, but a defendant might be able to stop his own prosecution,” said Randall Eliason, a law professor at George Washington University who specializes in white-collar crimes. “That’s an argument for getting the case to trial before the election.”

In New York state court since April 15, Trump has been on trial for trying to hide the fact that he paid porn star Stormy Daniels hush money before the 2016 election. That was against the law. Trying to change the results of the 2020 election has also gotten him charged in a Georgia state court.

Trump has tried to make it look like all the cases against him are politically driven.

The Florida case involves charges of breaking the Espionage Act, which makes it illegal to have national defense knowledge without permission, as well as conspiracy to obstruct justice and giving investigators false information.

But if Trump wins in November, it’s possible that neither case will ever get to a jury. In his role as president, Trump could tell the Justice Department to drop the federal charges against him or ask for a pardon.

Because they say the public has a right to a quick trial, Smith’s team has pushed hard for timelines in the Florida case. During a hearing, prosecutor Jay Bratt told Cannon that a trial in the fall would not go against Justice Department rules that say investigating around an election could change the result of the vote.

Trump has asked Cannon to drop two charges, but more are still being considered. In addition, she has hinted that Trump’s claims that the papers were personal records might affect how she tells the jury in a future trial. This choice could cause the prosecutors to file an appeal, which would cause more delays.

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