Trump Lawyer Says Pre-Election Classified Docs Trial Would Be ‘Unfair’

trump documents argument

The start date for the Florida trial on Donald Trump‘s mishandling of classified documents is in the hands of a judge the former president appointed to the federal circuit.

The trial, currently scheduled to begin May 20, is likely to be delayed after prosecutors and defense attorneys met at a federal courthouse in Fort Pierce, Florida, on Friday.

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, appointed by Trump to the Southern District of Florida in 2020, said the timeline proposed by prosecutors for a trial this summer was “unrealistic.”

The hearing ended Friday without a new start date, though Cannon said the proposed schedule needs “some space” and “flexibility,” according to CNN.

Prosecutors currently seek a July 8 start date for the trial, while Trump’s attorneys are asking for the case to be delayed until after the November election. One Trump attorney, Todd Blanche, said it was “unfair” to have a trial ahead of the election.

“We very much continue to believe that a trial that takes place before the election is a mistake and should not happen,” Blanche said Friday, according to ABC News.

In a blow to Trump’s legal team, Justice Department officials advised Cannon that the so-called “60 day rule,” which prohibits federal investigators from indicting or publicly investigating candidates near an election, does not apply to legal actions post-indictment, such as trials. The clarification means Trump’s federal criminal cases could take place concurrent to campaign season and during early voting.

The prosecution, led by special counsel Jack Smith, is investigating 40 federal charges against Trump over his handling of the classified documents after leaving office, which were found at Mar-a-Lago in Florida instead of being turned over to the National Archives as is required by law.

Trump is facing charges along with Walt Nauta, a political aide, and Mar-a-Lago employee Carlos De Oliveira, both of whom are accused of assisting Trump with hiding the documents after his term ended.

One of the major complicating factors in the case involves how the classified information will be handled as it is entered into evidence.

Earlier this week, Cannon ruled against Trump’s co-defendants being able to view any of the classified documents in the case, writing “the Court finds that the Special Counsel has met his burden.”


The likely delay in the Mar-a-Lago case only further complicates Trump’s crowded legal calendar. The Justice Department’s election interference case will likely be delayed until after the November election after the Supreme Court said this week it would consider Trump’s presidential immunity claims. Rolling Stone reported on Thursday that Trump’s team was “literally popping champagne” after the Supreme Court decided to take up the case, aware that the decision means it won’t be something they have to contend with ahead of the election.

Trump’s financial crimes trial centering around hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election, is on track to begin jury selection on March 25.

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