Attorneys defending former President Donald Trump in the federal government’s classified documents case are seeking an indefinite postponement, telling a judge in a filing Monday night that no trial can begin until all “substantive motions” have been completed.
The New York Times reports that the filing, submitted 30 minutes before the deadline, asks to push back any trial against President Trump until the latest stages of next year’s presidential election, potentially setting up a blockbuster criminal case against President Joe Biden’s leading rival should Trump capture the Republican nomination. Federal prosecutors have previously asked Judge Aileen Cannon to allow the trial to begin this August.
Any decision on the latest motion represents a pivotal inflection point for Judge Cannon, a Trump appointee who so far has appeared sympathetic to the former president in previous rulings where she ordered prosecutors to turn over their list of witnesses to the public. While judges have wide latitude to determine the speed with which such a case works through the court system, Judge Cannon will be under tremendous pressure to deliver a verdict that stays above the partisan fray. The latest filing by Trump’s attorneys will bring under consideration her previous decision to set a sooner-than-expected trial date.
Should President Trump be successful in his campaign to return to the White House, he could theoretically pardon himself if found guilty or request that his attorney general dismiss the case if it were still ongoing. Since the indictment last month, President Trump has complained that special counsel Jack Smith has a history of bringing “political hit jobs” against politicians, including the possibility that Smith will bring up to 45 more charges against Trump. His attorneys have readied a plan to depose FBI agents and others they believe may shed light on politicization by the government in its case against the former president.
President Trump has received largely positive results on the campaign trail where large swaths of GOP primary voters are supporting him above other candidates and believe the charges against him are politically motivated. The Trump campaign has benefited from a largesse in fundraising following the hours after the indictment. Even competitors like hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy have rallied to the former president’s defense and called on all rivals to promise to pardon him should one be elected.