Judge in Donald Trump's classified docs case drops possible hint about trial date

Miami, Florida - US District Judge Aileen Cannon on Tuesday announced she would soon set a trial date for ex-President Donald Trump's classified documents case, seemingly suggesting that it might be before the 2024 elections.

Ex-President Donald Trump's classified documents case will get a trial date soon, according to US District Judge Aileen Cannon.
Ex-President Donald Trump's classified documents case will get a trial date soon, according to US District Judge Aileen Cannon.  © REUTERS

Trump's lawyers urged the judge to postpone the complex and controversial criminal trial involving scores of sensitive government secrets until after the election in which Trump is expected to run as the Republican candidate.

Justice Department prosecutors argued to start as early as December, saying Trump's political aspirations aren't legal grounds for indefinite delay.

Cannon did not make a decision during the two-hour hearing in the Fort Pierce federal courthouse, but said she would make a decision promptly.

Lauren Boebert spreads wild MAGA conspiracy that Biden is dead: "I demand proof of life!"
Lauren Boebert Lauren Boebert spreads wild MAGA conspiracy that Biden is dead: "I demand proof of life!"

"I think some deadlines can be established now," she told Trump's lawyers.

Cannon, a Trump appointee who joined the federal in 2020, had asked both sides to be prepared to address the trial schedule issue and the crucial sharing of documents under the Classified Information Procedures Act at the Tuesday afternoon hearing.

She will be under intense scrutiny because she ruled favorably for the former president on appointing a special master to review the FBI's seizure of classified documents from Trump's home last year.

Her decision, which would have delayed the Justice Department's investigation, was overturned by a GOP-appointed panel of appellate judges in a scathing ruling.

Trump's legal team is asking for a delay until at least after the 2024 presidential elections, in which he is expected to run as the Republican candidate.
Trump's legal team is asking for a delay until at least after the 2024 presidential elections, in which he is expected to run as the Republican candidate.  © REUTERS

Last week, in a new court motion, the defense teams for Trump and Nauta urged Cannon to postpone the government's proposed trial date of December 11 indefinitely, arguing that the Justice Department's push to prosecute Trump as soon as possible is "untenable" because of the breadth and complexity of the classified documents case.

The motion was also an effort to seize the narrative, trying to portray the former president's criminal charges over the handling of classified documents as a politically fraught legal battle between Trump and his successor, Biden, as both pursue another run for the White House in 2024.

Although Trump's lawyers don't propose a trial date in their filing, the clear suggestion is to delay any trial for the front-runner for the Republican nomination until after the presidential campaign season next year.

Trump launches fundraiser after Biden drops out: "He just quit the race in complete disgrace!"
Donald Trump Trump launches fundraiser after Biden drops out: "He just quit the race in complete disgrace!"

"This extraordinary case presents a serious challenge to both the fact and perception of our American democracy," Trump's lawyers Christopher Kise and Todd Blanche wrote in a motion joined by his co-defendant in the case, the former president's personal aide, Walt Nauta.

"The Court now presides over a prosecution advanced by the administration of a sitting President against his chief political rival, himself a leading candidate for the Presidency of the United States," they wrote in the motion before Judge Cannon.

"Therefore, a measured consideration and timeline that allows for a careful and complete review of the procedures that led to this indictment and the unprecedented legal issues presented herein best serves the interests of the Defendants and the public."

A mountain of evidence against Trump

So far, according to the latest filing by Trump's lawyers, the special counsel's team has turned over a mountain of evidence: more than 428,300 records totaling 833,450 pages, including 122,650 emails with attachments, 305,670 documents from more than 90 different sources, and 57 terabytes of compressed raw CCV footage spanning nine months.

Defense lawyers have zeroed on that huge quantity, along with the daunting task of reviewing classified materials involving US weapons, defense, and nuclear programs, as the main reason for requiring more time to prepare for trial.

Trump's attorneys indicate that they plan to seek dismissal of the 38-count indictment, which includes 31 counts accusing the former president of deliberately withholding classified materials in violation of the Espionage Act, while challenging the special counsel's legal basis for the historic case against the former president.

Cover photo: REUTERS

More on Donald Trump: