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Judge Cannon indefinitely postpones Donald Trump's trial for classified document retention

Bart Jansen
91影视

A federal judge postponed indefinitely Tuesday the trial of former President Donald Trump on charges he hoarded classified documents after leaving the White House.

91影视 District Judge Aileen Cannon ruled that finalizing a trial date without first resolving disputes about classified documents 鈥渨ould be imprudent and inconsistent鈥 with preparations to present the case to a jury.

Cannon had tentatively scheduled the trial to start May 20 but removed that date without setting a new one. She said she would set a new date that takes into account Trump鈥檚 right to a fair trial and the public鈥檚 right to the fair and efficient administration of justice.

Deadlines for written arguments over the classified documents now run to July 22, pushing any trial off for months.

Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith's office declined comment on the decision.

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Steven Cheung, a Trump campaign spokesperson, said the former president has established a commanding lead in the polls but Democrats continue to push criminal trials he called 鈥渨itch hunts鈥 to interfere with the 2024 election.

鈥淧resident Trump and his legal team will continue to fight and crush the Biden Hoaxes all across the country and the American People will hold Crooked Joe and his comrades to account this Fall,鈥 Cheung said in a statement.

Former President Donald Trump sits in Manhattan Supreme Court on the 13th day of his hush money trial May 7, 2024.

Delay in classified records case a victory for Trump

The decision is a victory for Trump, who sought to postpone all four pending criminal cases against him until after the 2024 presidential election. Trump contends all of the cases represent election interference and that they are keeping him off the campaign trail against President Joe Biden.

Trump is charged with storing hundreds of documents at his Mar-a-Lago resort after leaving the White House and then conspiring to hide them from federal authorities. Prosecutors charge he violated the Espionage Act because the documents hold some of the country鈥檚 most important secrets.

But Trump contends as president he could do what he wanted with the records. He has pleaded not guilty.

Experts don't expect Cannon's removal over scheduling

Cannon was appointed by Trump and some experts have called for her removal from the case because of moves they've described as聽鈥渋nsane鈥 and 鈥渘uts鈥 鈭 and some of her decisions have been overturned on appeal.

After the FBI seizure of classified records at Mar-a-Lago in August 2022, Cannon ruled that a retired judge called a special master would review the documents for potential personal records. That temporarily prevented investigators from scrutinizing them. The 11th 91影视 Circuit Court of Appeals overturned part of Cannon鈥檚 order and later halted the special master review.

But experts said scheduling decisions are typically left to the discretion of the trial judge. said there is little critics could do about Cannon鈥檚 decision because she has been careful to avoid decisions that warrant appeals to the 11th 91影视 Circuit Court of Appeals and scheduling decisions 鈥渆asily fall within her discretionary authority."

Moss said a 鈥渟ilver lining鈥 to the decision may be that the delay in the documents case opens space for two of Trump鈥檚 other trials to be scheduled before the election.

at the Brookings Institution who served as a House counsel during Trump鈥檚 first impeachment, said there was 鈥減lenty of blame to go around,鈥 mostly against Cannon, but he questioned why Smith brought the case in Florida.

But Mike Davis, a former clerk to Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, said an accusation by Trump鈥檚 lawyers about prosecutors not sharing evidence appropriately may be.

Trump鈥檚 lawyers, Todd Blanche and Christopher Kise, accused prosecutors of failing to keep track of how documents seized at Mar-a-Lago were arranged in boxes.

鈥淵our failure to disclose the spoliation of this evidence until this month is an extraordinary breach of your constitutional and ethical obligations,鈥 the lawyers wrote Tuesday.

Calendar of Trump cases remains fluid

Trump faces four criminal trials, including the one underway in New York state court on charges he falsified business records to hide hush money payments to a porn actress before the 2016 election.

Despite the New York trial, Trump's two other cases have run into delays.

Smith, who brought the classified document charges in Florida, also has election interference charges pending in Washington, D.C. He sought a brisk pace in both.

But that trial, which was initially scheduled to start March 4, has been postponed until the Supreme Court decides whether Trump is immune from criminal charges for actions he took while he was president. A potential June decision in that case could push that trial to late summer or even later.

In Georgia, Fulton County Judge Scott McAfee hasn鈥檛 set a date for a trial on election racketeering charges. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis proposed to start Aug. 5, but McAfee questioned starting a four- or five-month trial that would overlap with the election.

Contributing: David Jackson

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