Former president Donald Trump got bad news earlier in the day. For months now, Trump’s legal team aimed to delay his trial regarding the mishandling of classified data until after the upcoming presidential election.
On Friday, the judge denied the request.
Donald Trump’s trial on charges that he hoarded classified military secrets at his Mar-a-Lago estate will remain scheduled for May 20, the federal judge overseeing the case ruled Friday, rejecting for now demands by the former president to postpone the case until after the presidential election next November, writes Politico.
But in a nine-page order, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon said she would revisit the trial schedule in March, after Trump and prosecutors working for special counsel Jack Smith have more time to hash out complicated disputes over Trump and his co-defendants’ access to the reams of classified material at the heart of the case.
Cannon — who was nominated by Trump in 2020 and confirmed about two weeks after he lost his bid for reelection — acknowledged the challenges posed by “an unusually high volume” of evidence, especially given Trump’s need to prepare for other overlapping criminal cases.
While Cannon conceded “evolving and unforeseen circumstances” in the case, she concurred with Smith’s team that the law favors “the public’s right to a speedy trial” and she said she was not persuaded to impose a delay in the trial date — for now. Instead, the judge extended a handful of interim pretrial deadlines and set a March 1 hearing to revisit the viability of the trial date. She noted that Trump is also facing criminal proceedings in New York and Washington, D.C., that add to the complexity of his ability to prepare for trial.
Judge Cannon listened to arguments last week from Trump’s lawyers asking that the trial be delayed. An attorney for the former president participated remotely from New York, where he is representing the former president in an ongoing fraud trial that may see his real estate kingdom taken away from him.
Trump has maintained that he had sole authority as president to determine what he could take from the White House. He has pleaded not guilty in the case.
On Friday, however, he appeared to admit, writes CNBC, that “various people” in and around Mar-a-Lago saw the “papers and boxes” that the prosecution claims contained 1,545 pages of classified material.
“Of course they did! They may have been the boxes etc. that were openly and plainly brought from the White House, as is my right under the Presidential Records Act,” Trump said on his social media platform Truth Social.
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CNBC noted, “Under the Presidential Records Act, which became law in 1978, “any records created or received by the President as part of his constitutional, statutory, or ceremonial duties are the property of the United States government and will be managed by NARA at the end of the administration,” the National Archives notes on its website.
‘Under the PRA, the official records of the President and his staff are owned by the United States, not by the President,’ the site says. The Archives is required under the law to take custody of these records when a president, including Trump, leaves office.”
The next hearing in the case is scheduled for March 1, 2024.