Mr. Smith is prosecuting two separate cases against President Trump. In Washington he has charged President Trump for his actions on Jan. 6, 2021. That case was set to go to trial on March 4, but since early December has been stuck in limbo while President Trump pursues an appeal of his motion to dismiss the case entirely based on presidential immunity.
In the second case, Mr. Smith has charged President Trump on 40 counts related to mishandling classified documents. The case was set to go to trial May 20. However, pre-trial proceedings have been slow going as the defense struggles to review and obtain mountains of evidence from the prosecution, with the judge indicating late last year that a delay may be necessary.
Now President Trump’s most recent request for a motions deadline delay has “fully exposed” his motive to “adjourn the trial date entirely,” Mr. Smith argues, pointing to the timeline of other delay requests the defense has made.
He then pointed to a specific motion the defense has indicated it will file later this month: the same motion that had put Mr. Smith’s other case on an indefinite pause.
“The only purpose for such a frivolous motion in this case would be to artificially create a new avenue for potential delay, this time by attempting to manufacture an opportunity for a frivolous interlocutory appeal,” it adds. “It is another transparent effort to stall the trial.”
In the Jan. 6 case, after a federal judge in district court rejected the motion to dismiss based on presidential immunity, President Trump took the case to the appeals court, which halted all proceedings in the district trial court.
The appeals court has since rejected the motion, but has held off on returning the case to the district court if President Trump appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court by Feb. 12. President Trump has indicated he will appeal, but it is unclear whether he will try for a rehearing in the appeals court before bringing the case to the high court.
Either way, it has already resulted in a two-month delay in pre-trial proceedings, and further delays are likely.
Prosecutors are now urging the federal judge in the classified documents case to reject the defense’s request for a delay, arguing it will only encourage them to flout other deadlines.
Deadlines Already Reset
U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon had already reset the deadlines in the document case late last year when it became clear to the court the evidence involved was more complex than expected. Since then, both parties have been litigating the use of classified information, and throughout the case the defense has been making more and more specific requests for discovery from the prosecution that the prosecution insists it is not obligated to provide.
The new deadline for motions to compel was Jan. 16 and the new deadline for pretrial motions was Feb. 22. The court had rejected the defense’s wish to hold off the pretrial motions deadline until all motions to compel were resolved. President Trump’s new request is much like what the judge already denied, asking for the deadline for pretrial motions to be extended to “within one month” of the resolution of motions to compel.
“The sequence of deadlines in the Court’s scheduling orders has therefore been clear for months and yet the defendants made no request to upend it until now,” prosecutors argued. “Indeed, their motion not only seeks more time but also asks the Court for an open-ended extension.”
Prosecutors argue that nothing has changed since the court set new deadlines in November, which the both parties had agreed to. They further noted that half of the recent discovery turned over to the defense was material they already had access to, and claim the defense has overblown their argument of having too much material to review under deadline.
“In their motion, the defendants shared none of these material details with the Court, apparently because they would undermine the narrative that they have attempted to present to the Court as a basis to request more delay,” prosecutors argued.