Judge Hints at Potential Delay for Trump Trial over Alleged Concealment of Classified Documents at Mar-a-Lago

Judge Hints at Potential Delay for Trump Trial over Alleged Concealment of Classified Documents at Mar-a-Lago

A federal judge in Florida is considering delaying the start of Donald Trump’s trial on charges of hiding classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate and obstructing government efforts to retrieve them. U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon expressed her concerns about the other criminal cases the former president is facing and the extensive evidence that needs to be reviewed by his attorneys. The trial is currently scheduled for May 20, 2024, but Cannon seemed inclined to side with Trump’s lawyers’ request for a postponement. Prosecutors, however, urged her to maintain the scheduled start date.

Special counsel Jack Smith’s team filed the classified documents case against Trump, which is one of four trials he could face next year. Another federal case, also brought by Smith, accuses Trump of scheming to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and is set for trial in March in Washington. Additionally, a trial in Georgia on state charges of election subversion and a New York trial on charges of falsifying business records to cover up a hush money payment to a porn actor prior to the 2016 election are potential trials for Trump next year. He is already involved in a civil case in New York relating to business fraud.

Cannon also raised concerns about the massive amount of evidence provided by prosecutors in the Mar-a-Lago case, including 1.3 million pages of documents and thousands of hours of security video footage from Trump’s resort. She questioned whether Trump’s legal team would have sufficient time to review all the evidence in the next six months.

Prosecutor Jay Bratt, a member of Smith’s team, informed Cannon that Trump’s attorneys have consistently sought to delay the trial until after the November 2024 election, with hopes of regaining the White House from President Joe Biden. Bratt mentioned that the Washington trial may also be postponed due to defense motions seeking delay or dismissal of charges. He advised Cannon not to let the Washington trial influence the schedule of the Mar-a-Lago case.

Bratt assured Cannon that his team has provided Trump’s lawyers with a directory of the Mar-a-Lago documents to aid in their preparation and informed them about the portions of security video they intend to present as evidence. The footage allegedly shows boxes being moved in and out of a storage room at the property in an attempt to hide them from investigators. Trump’s valet, Walt Nauta, and Mar-a-Lago property manager, Carlos De Oliveira, are also charged with conspiring to obstruct the FBI’s investigation, and all three defendants have pleaded not guilty.

Trump’s attorney, Todd Blanche, urged Cannon and the prosecutors to be realistic, particularly considering that the classified documents can only be accessed in specially secured government rooms. Blanche emphasized the challenges they have faced in obtaining access to the documents.

Cannon stated that she will make a decision regarding the trial date in the coming days.