Donald Trump on Monday night asked a federal court to delay on setting a date for his criminal trial over his hoarding of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate post-presidency, arguing that it would be virtually impossible to seat an impartial jury while he remains a presidential candidate.
“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,” attorneys for Trump and Walt Nauta, his personal aide and co-defendant, said in a court filing Monday.
“There is simply no question any trial of this action during the pendency of a Presidential election will impact both the outcome of that election and, importantly, the ability of the Defendants to obtain a fair trial,” the attorneys contended.
Florida District Judge Aileen Cannon, the Trump appointee who is overseeing the case, initially set a preliminary trial date of Aug. 14, but this is widely expected to be delayed.
Nauta was indicted along with the former president last month, and caught on tape moving boxes just days before the Justice Department visited Mar-a-Lago in June 2022. He appeared in court earlier this month, pleading not guilty to all charges related to the documents. Trump pleaded not guilty during his arraignment in Miami in June.
Trump faces a 37-count grand jury indictment on charges including conspiracy to obstruct justice, corruptly concealing a record or document, and concealing a document in a federal investigation. The charges stem from his alleged refusal to hand over scores of classified material Trump took to his Mar-a-Lago resort upon leaving the White House in 2021.
The delay tactic is the latest in team Trump’s legal strategy to avoid a prison sentence if he’s convicted. The former president has previously claimed the ability to self-pardon — an untested use of presidential power. Earlier this year, Rolling Stone reported Trump privately told confidants that, should he be re-elected president, he could pardon high-level allies if they face charges from the Biden-era Justice Department.
Source link: https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/trump-lawyers-delay-classified-docs-trial-2024-election-1234786008/