By Katabella Roberts
Attorneys for former President Donald Trump have asked a Florida federal judge to postpone the upcoming trial over Mr. Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified documents, citing the Biden administration’s “unrealistic” schedule and the “unprecedented” nature of the case.
A federal grand jury in Miami indicted Mr. Trump in June on 37 felony charges, including the willful retention of national defense information and conspiring to obstruct justice.
Mr. Trump pleaded not guilty and has insisted that the case against him amounts to political persecution.
The former president’s trial was initially scheduled to begin in August. However, the Department of Justice (DOJ) in June asked the judge presiding over the case—District Judge Aileen Cannon—to start the trial in December, thus granting Mr. Trump’s lawyers enough time to obtain the necessary security clearances they need to view various classified documents in the case.
In a motion (pdf) filed on July 10 in a federal court in Florida, Mr. Trump’s lawyers—joined by his personal aide and co-defendant Walt Nauta—urged Judge Cannon to delay the trial further, arguing that a trial beginning within just months would deny them the reasonable time necessary for “effective preparation.”
This, his lawyers argued, could potentially lead to a miscarriage of justice.
Case Is of ‘Extraordinary Nature’
“This extraordinary case presents a serious challenge to both the fact and perception of our American democracy,” the attorneys wrote. “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.”
“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,” they continued.
“Based on the extraordinary nature of this action, there is most assuredly no reason for any expedited trial, and a continuance best serves the ends of justice,” they wrote.
The former President’s attorneys further argued that the DOJ’s attempts to set a December trial date are unwarranted as there is “no ongoing threat to national security interests nor any concern regarding continued criminal activity.”
Additionally, they noted that Mr. Trump is currently the “likely Republican Party nominee” in the 2024 race and will thus have a busy schedule up until November of that same year.
Mr. Trump has vowed to remain in the 2024 race no matter the outcome of the trial.
Trump Aide Pleads Not Guilty
Finally, Mr. Trump’s lawyers in their court filing claimed that finding an impartial jury to sit in the trial against the former president would prove to be a difficult task under the current circumstances.
“Proceeding to trial during the pendency of a Presidential election cycle wherein opposing candidates are effectively (if not literally) directly adverse to one another in this action will create extraordinary challenges in the jury selection process and limit the Defendants’ ability to secure a fair and impartial adjudication,” Mr. Trump’s lawyers wrote.
The former president’s attorneys did not give a specific date for a new trial but instead asked that the judge withdraw the current order setting a trial date for December and postpone any consideration of a new trial date until after at least 2024.
Mr. Trump is also set to go on trial in other cases next year, including for charges relating to alleged hush money payments made during his 2016 presidential campaign to adult actress Stormy Daniels and for fraud allegations in a case filed by New York attorney general Letitia James.
The latest motion came just days after Mr. Trump’s co-defendant in the classified documents case, Mr. Nauta, pleaded not guilty in a Miami courtroom to helping the former president hide classified documents from law enforcement officials and of making false statements and conspiring to obstruct justice.