Trump demands judge delay classified documents trial

Former President Trump on Thursday urged the judge overseeing his federal classified documents criminal case in Florida to delay the trial until after the 2024 election as part of a pattern of attempting to delay his criminal trials until after he’s had a chance to win the White House.

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon is expected to provide a scheduling update during a Friday hearing, with many legal observers anticipating she will delay the currently scheduled May 20 trial start.

Cannon asked both sides to submit updated proposals in advance of the proceeding, which were due Thursday.

“As the leading candidate in the 2024 election, President Trump strongly asserts that a fair trial cannot be conducted this year in a manner consistent with the Constitution,” Trump’s attorneys wrote in court filings.

As an alternative, Trump proposed an Aug. 12 start date but contended he could not get a fair trial this year.

Special counsel Jack Smith, who has aimed to take Trump to trial with haste, is now requesting the trial begin on July 8.

While Smith has not explicitly tied his need for speed to the upcoming election, Trump could end both of the special counsel’s prosecutions if he takes the White House and then pardons himself or fires Smith.

Trump is charged with 40 counts accusing him of mishandling classified records after leaving the White House and attempting to obstruct the government’s retrieval of those records. He pleaded not guilty.

Cannon, a Trump appointee, in November declined the former president’s request to push back the May trial date. But at the time, the judge announced she would convene a scheduling conference on March 1.

With that date now arriving, Trump and prosecutors are set for a high-stakes showdown that could dictate whether the former president will go to trial in advance of the 2024 election.

On Friday, Cannon will confront setting a trial date while juggling Trump’s other cases — including his hush money criminal trial that is set to begin in New York — and determining a schedule for remaining pretrial matters.

Those issues include Trump’s handful of motions seeking to dismiss the case, on grounds including presidential immunity and selective prosecution, as well as continuing disputes about how to manage the various classified materials relevant to the case.

The proceeding is expected to stretch into the afternoon, creating a split-screen moment with a hearing in Trump’s Georgia criminal case on whether the district attorney should be disqualified because of her romantic relationship with a top prosecutor on the case. Prosecutors have described the calls to step aside as baseless.

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