Judge in Mar-a-Lago case likely to delay trial in boon for Trump

Aileen Cannon appears inclined to reject prosecutors’ proposed timeline as Trump lawyers push for delay in classified papers case

A federal judge overseeing Donald Trump’s criminal case over his retention of classified documents has rejected a proposal by special counsel prosecutors that she set a schedule culminating in a July trial. US district judge Aileen Cannon did not set a new trial date from the bench, which is currently set for May but almost certain to be scrapped. It was unclear whether she would adopt competing schedules proposed by Trump and prosecutors or set her own. Trump attended the entire hearing, which he often spent smirking and whispering to his lead lawyer, Todd Blanche. Trump’s lawyers reiterated their desire for Cannon to delay the classified documents trial until after the 2024 election in November, claiming it was unfair to his presidential campaign and personally because he could not be in courtrooms in New York and Florida.

The issue with a July trial date, Blanche said, was that Trump would be stuck in a Manhattan courtroom for roughly six weeks starting on March 25, when he faces charges that he falsified business records by hiding hush-money payments before the 2016 election. Adopting the prosecutors’ schedule would make it impossible for Trump and his lawyers to attend both the New York trial and major hearings, as he is entitled to as a defendant during that period before Cannon.

The judge also appeared inclined to grant Trump’s request to hold an evidentiary hearing to determine whether the scope of the “prosecution team” should be expanded to include additional FBI agents, officials from the US intelligence community, and components of the Biden White House.

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