OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
After former President Donald Trump was indicted earlier this month on charges related to his handling of classified documents, a number of legal analysts predicted that his team would attempt to push back the start date for the trial as long as possible, maybe even beyond the 2024 election.
But Trump’s team didn’t request the first delay, it has been made by the man who indicted him, special counsel Jack Smith.
U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee, initially set a court date of Aug. 14, but according to a filing by Smith, he wants that pushed back to Dec. 11, The Epoch Times reported.
“The request asks for the trial to be delayed by four months because there is classified information involved. To handle this information, Trump’s lawyers need to get security clearances, and that process takes time,” the outlet noted. “Interim security clearances are currently being processed and should be granted within 48 hours after Trump’s lawyers submit the required forms. However, obtaining the final clearance to access a few specific classified documents may take anywhere from 45 to 60 days.”
In order to obtain access to the classified information related to the case, Trump’s legal team must possess security clearances. According to Smith, he has discussed the matter with Trump’s attorneys, who have not raised any objections to the postponement of the trial date. That being said, it is expected that the former president’s lawyers will file their own motion outlining their reservations and objections to the dates proposed by the government, the outlet reported.
In his motion, Smith acknowledged that the government has been diligent in providing the defense with unclassified discovery materials, which includes “evidence gathered through subpoenas, warrants, grand jury testimony transcripts, witness interviews, relevant documents, and closed-circuit television footage obtained during the investigation,” The Epoch Times noted.
“Even with the prompt production the government has arranged, the inclusion of additional time for defense counsel to review and digest the discovery, to make their own decisions about any production to the government, and for the government to review the same, is reasonable and appropriate,” says Smith’s motion.
The Epoch Times adds:
The motion clarifies that the Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA) has implications for the trial proceedings, as it introduces additional time requirements specific to cases involving classified information. Under CIPA, parties can request a pretrial conference to discuss any possible issues related to the prosecution of the case concerning classified information.
Because the case against Trump contains classified defense material, Smith also filed a motion requesting a pretrial conference and the appointment of a Classified Information Security Officer. According to the motion, CIPA will determine how the court manages the discovery of classified information and establishes guidelines for determining the admissibility of such information in the trial.
Smith filed a separate motion to seek approval for submitting a confidential witness list, which has been shared with Trump’s legal team. The list specifies individuals Trump and his co-defendant, Walt Nauta, are not allowed to communicate with.
Trump handily won the state in 2020, and that could definitely work to his advantage when it comes to his federal trial.
As Newsmax reported on Friday, the jury pool will come primarily from counties that Trump easily won in 2016 and 2020, and that could definitely work to his advantage when the case comes to trial.
In addition, the federal judge hearing the case is Aileen Cannon, whom Trump appointed. And on Friday, she signaled that the trial would take place in Fort Pierce, the federal courthouse where she usually sits, at the northern end of the Southern District of Florida.
As The New York Times added, the region is home to one swing county and four solid red ones. But that said, Cannon did leave open the possibility that the case could be moved.