A federal judge in Fort Pierce, Florida, has indicated that she may postpone the start of the classified documents trial of former President Donald Trump. U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon cited the multiple criminal cases Trump is facing, as well as the extensive evidence that his attorneys need to review. The trial, which accuses Trump of hiding classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate and obstructing government efforts to retrieve them, is currently scheduled for May 20, 2024.
Judge Cannon expressed her inclination to side with Trump’s attorneys, who have requested a delay, stating that she has doubts about the feasibility of the current schedule. Prosecutors urged her to maintain the scheduled start date, but Cannon questioned whether Trump’s legal team would have sufficient time to review the 1.3 million pages of evidence and thousands of hours of security video provided by the prosecution within the next six months.
The classified documents case, brought by special counsel Jack Smith’s team, is one of four trials Trump is facing that could potentially take place next year. Another federal case, also filed by Smith, accuses Trump of scheming to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and is scheduled for trial in March in Washington. Additionally, a trial in Georgia on state charges related to election subversion and a New York trial on charges of falsifying business records to conceal a hush money payment to a porn actor in 2016 could also commence next year, although no specific dates have been set.
Prosecutor Jay Bratt informed Judge Cannon that Trump’s attorneys have consistently sought to delay the trial until after the November 2024 election, where Trump hopes to regain the presidency from incumbent President Joe Biden. Bratt emphasized that the trial in Washington may also be postponed due to defense motions to delay or dismiss the charges, urging Cannon not to let the Washington trial dictate the schedule for the Mar-a-Lago case. The prosecution has provided Trump’s lawyers with a directory of the Mar-a-Lago documents and informed them of the security video footage they intend to present at trial, which allegedly shows efforts to conceal boxes from investigators.
Trump’s valet, Walt Nauta, and a Mar-a-Lago property manager, Carlos De Oliveira, are co-defendants in the case, charged with conspiring to obstruct the FBI’s investigation. All three defendants have pleaded not guilty. Trump’s attorney, Todd Blanche, urged Judge Cannon and the prosecution to be realistic, highlighting the challenges of accessing the classified documents, which can only be read in secure government rooms.
Judge Cannon stated that she will make a decision on the trial date in the coming days.