Pressure is mounting on Trump.
Judge Aileen Cannon, a former appointee of President Trump, has rejected the ex-President’s plea to postpone his trial in the Mar-a-Lago confidential documents case, at least for now.
According to Newsweek, Judge Cannon decided to maintain the trial date of May 20, 2024, in the Florida case but indicated that she would reconsider the date in early March after the discovery process. Some pretrial dates were shifted, but they won’t significantly impact the trial timeline.
Donald Trump’s legal team has been attempting to delay multiple trials until after the 2024 election, but three out of four have already been scheduled, including the federal election interference case, slated to start on March 4. In the confidential documents case, Trump faces a total of 40 felony charges, which include 31 counts of willful retention of classified documents and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice.
Judge Cannon had heard arguments regarding the trial in the Florida case last week, and her Friday decision was somewhat surprising given her earlier comments during the hearing, suggesting she might grant Trump’s request. Trump’s legal team argued that postponing the Florida trial would avoid conflicts with the election interference case.
Special counsel Jack Smith, however, sent a notice to Judge Cannon, urging her not to be swayed by Trump’s team, who failed to disclose their request to delay the trial date in the other federal case, which Smith is also prosecuting.
The Department of Justice argued last week that Trump’s attempts to reschedule other trial dates weakened his arguments regarding the Florida case.
Judge Cannon acknowledged the prosecutors’ filing in her Friday ruling but noted that Trump’s other ongoing legal proceedings complicated his ability to prepare for the confidential records trial. She asserted that Trump’s team needed more time to review the “exceedingly voluminous” discovery but retained the May 20 date to balance “the public’s right to a speedy trial.”
While Judge Cannon might still decide to grant Trump’s request in early March, legal analyst Bradley Moss commented that her Friday decision was a significant setback for the former president. He mentioned that it was not what Trump had hoped for, particularly concerning the deadlines related to the Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA), a tool used in litigation for filtering discovery documents.
However, some remained uncertain about the final outcome. Analyst Lisa Rubin suggested that Judge Cannon’s order solidified her image as “the Lucy-with-the-football of the federal judiciary,” speculating that she might postpone the classified documents trial in or after a March 2024 hearing.
In response to Newsweek, Trump’s legal team commented via email, stating that the former President is facing legal battles on multiple fronts against the Biden Administration, Jack Smith, and the broader Democratic party. They look forward to the conference set by Judge Cannon in March, where scheduling matters, including a potential trial date, will be discussed. They claimed that the Biden Administration’s efforts to deny Trump’s constitutional rights reflect corrupt motives and emphasized the importance of Trump having adequate time to prepare for trial as he fights against what they perceive as unfounded allegations and seeks a return to the White House.