Legal professionals for former President Donald J. Trump requested a federal choose on Monday evening to indefinitely postpone his trial on fees of illegally retaining labeled paperwork after he left workplace, saying that the continuing mustn’t start till all “substantive motions” within the case had been offered and determined.
The written filing — submitted half-hour earlier than its deadline of midnight on Tuesday — presents a big early check for Decide Aileen M. Cannon, the Trump-appointed jurist who’s overseeing the case. If granted, it might have the impact of pushing Mr. Trump’s trial into the ultimate levels of the presidential marketing campaign during which he’s now the Republican front-runner and even previous the 2024 election.
Whereas timing is vital in any prison matter, it might be massively consequential in Mr. Trump’s case, during which he stands accused of illegally holding on to 31 labeled paperwork after leaving the White Home and obstructing the federal government’s repeated efforts to reclaim them.
There might be issues of a kind by no means earlier than offered to a court docket if Mr. Trump is a candidate within the final legs of a presidential marketing campaign and a federal prison defendant on trial on the identical time. If the trial is pushed again till after the election and Mr. Trump wins, he might attempt to pardon himself after taking workplace or have his lawyer common dismiss the matter fully.
A few of the former president’s advisers have been blunt in non-public conversations that he’s trying to profitable the election as an answer to his authorized issues. And the request for an open-ended delay to the trial of Mr. Trump and his co-defendant, Walt Nauta, a private aide, presents a high-stakes query for Decide Cannon, who got here into the case already below scrutiny for making selections favorable to the previous president within the early phases of the investigation.
The submitting got here in response to at least one submitted final month by prosecutors working for the particular counsel, Jack Smith, who requested a trial date of Dec. 11. Decide Cannon, showing to undertake the brisk calendar mandated by the Speedy Trial Act, had initially scheduled the case to go to trial in August.
Judges have huge latitude to set schedules for trials, and scheduling orders are sometimes not topic to attraction to greater courts. That stated, given the extraordinary nature of Mr. Trump’s case and the potential implications of a delay, prosecutors below Mr. Smith might in idea attempt to provide you with a rationale to problem a scheduling determination made by Decide Cannon to the U.S. Court docket of Appeals for the eleventh Circuit.
Mr. Trump’s attorneys pitched their request to Decide Cannon as a plea for cautious deliberation and as a way of safeguarding democracy.
“This extraordinary case presents a severe problem to each the very fact and notion of our American democracy,” wrote the attorneys, Chris M. Kise and Todd Blanche for Mr. Trump, and Stanley Woodward Jr. and Sasha Dadan for Mr. Nauta.
“The court docket now presides over a prosecution superior by the administration of a sitting president towards his chief political rival, himself a number one candidate for the presidency of america,” they wrote. “Due to this fact, a measured consideration and timeline that permits for a cautious and full evaluation of the procedures that led to this indictment and the unprecedented authorized points offered herein finest serves the pursuits of the defendants and the general public.”
The attorneys additionally took notice of the weird intertwining of regulation and politics within the case, suggesting that Mr. Trump’s standing as a presidential candidate must be factored into the timing of the trial.
“President Trump is working for president of america and is at present the probably Republican Celebration nominee,” they wrote. “This endeavor requires an amazing period of time and power, and that effort will proceed till the election on Nov. 5, 2024.”
“Mr. Nauta’s job requires him to accompany President Trump throughout most marketing campaign journeys across the nation,” they continued. “This schedule makes trial preparation with each of the defendants difficult. Such preparation requires vital planning and time.”
They usually steered that there isn’t any rationale for an expedited trial.
“Whereas the federal government seems to favor an expedited (and due to this fact cursory) method to this case, it can’t level to any exigency or urgency requiring a speedy adjudication,” they wrote. “There is no such thing as a ongoing risk to nationwide safety pursuits nor any concern concerning continued prison exercise.”
On Monday, hours earlier than Mr. Trump’s attorneys requested a delay of the trial, a lawyer for Mr. Nauta requested Decide Cannon to postpone a listening to to debate the problem of the labeled supplies within the case that was scheduled for Friday. The protection and the prosecution in the end agreed to delay the listening to, which can happen in Federal District Court docket in Fort Pierce, Fla., till subsequent Tuesday.
Decide Cannon agreed to that schedule change in a quick issued on Tuesday morning.
In making their case to delay the trial, Mr. Trump’s attorneys cited the expansive discovery proof offered to them by the federal government.
The primary discovery disclosure, they stated, contained greater than 833,450 pages of fabric, together with about 122,650 emails and 305,670 different paperwork. The attorneys stated that after subsequent troves of proof have been handed over, they might most probably make extra requests to the federal government for additional info.
In addition they pointed to the advanced means of deciding how you can deal with the delicate supplies on the coronary heart of the case below the Labeled Info Procedures Act — the topic of the listening to that had been scheduled for Friday. The attorneys strongly hinted that they have been going to struggle the federal government through the pretrial litigation over labeled materials, a course of that might take up vital quantities of time.
“Typically, the defendants consider there ought to merely be no ‘secret’ proof, nor any details hid from public view relative to the prosecution of a number one presidential candidate by his political opponent,” the attorneys wrote. “Our democracy calls for a minimum of full transparency.”
Except for its request for a delay, the submitting served as a preview of Mr. Trump’s authorized technique because the attorneys laid out methods during which they deliberate to assault his indictment.
They steered, for instance, that they supposed to problem a few of the fees he’s dealing with by arguing that the Presidential Data Act permitted Mr. Trump to take paperwork with him from the White Home. That interpretation of the Watergate-era regulation is at odds with how authorized consultants interpret it and was not profitable throughout an prolonged authorized battle final 12 months over an out of doors arbiter who was put in place to evaluation a trove of supplies seized by the F.B.I. from Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s non-public membership and residence in Florida.
The previous president’s attorneys additionally steered that they could increase “constitutional and statutory challenges” to Mr. Smith’s authority as particular counsel. Furthermore, they laid the groundwork for questioning whether or not an neutral jury might be seated on the trial whereas Mr. Trump was working for workplace.
“There’s merely no query any trial of this motion through the pendency of a presidential election will influence each the result of that election,” they wrote, “and, importantly, the power of the defendants to acquire a good trial.”