The defense brief makes it clear that December is too soon to start a trial and urges Cannon not to set a trial date now, but makes it clear that Trump’s lawyers oppose any trial that begins during the season. presidential elections, which will begin in earnest. late this year. Assuming Trump wins the Republican nomination, the defense position appears to require nearly a year of delay beyond what prosecutors are proposing.
The tactic is in line with typical Trump legal strategy: dragging out the cases he faces as long as possible while hoping the legal landscape changes. But this time it’s an effort to avoid a criminal trial that could result in a lengthy prison sentence if convicted – the first-ever prosecution of a former president.
Moreover, if Trump wins SamaGametion, he will likely find himself with legal and constitutional tools to disrupt the prosecution’s efforts. For example, he previously proclaimed the power of “self-forgiveness” – an untested exercise of presidential power. He could also appoint Justice Department leaders, who could simply choose to shut down any lingering criminal cases.
In the late-night submission, defense attorneys didn’t address those scenarios, but pointed to a range of potential conflicts and other procedures they say will make it ‘almost impossible’ to prepare for a trial. for Trump and Nauta in the coming months.
One complication cited by defense attorneys is a civil trial scheduled for October in New York involving an effort by New York Attorney General Letitia James to impose major restrictions on Trump and his businesses due to fraud. assumed to be ubiquitous. Another is a criminal trial scheduled for Trump in March 2024 on state charges related to payments to star Stormy Daniels just before the 2016 presidential election.
And Nauta’s attorney, Stan Woodward, has four criminal trials scheduled before December – including one he is trying this week – two of which involve defendants charged with violence against police officers on January 6, 2021, and another for the former Trump aide Peter Navarro, who is accused of defying a congressional subpoena.
Defense attorneys say Smith’s urgency to bring the federal criminal case to trial quickly is unwarranted.
“There is no ongoing threat to national security interests or concerns about continued criminal activity,” the defense team said, possibly referring to prosecutors’ statements supporting the lax release terms. of Trump and Nauta.
While prosecutors have called the case against Trump relatively straightforward — despite the inherent complexities of prosecuting a former president — lawyers for Trump and Nauta say the trial will be extraordinarily complicated, forcing Cannon to make decisions unprecedented on the handling of presidential records, the validity of the Smith probe and other issues.
“Therefore, measured consideration and a schedule that allows for a careful and comprehensive review of the proceedings that led to this indictment and the unprecedented legal issues presented here serves the best interests of the defendants and the public,” write- they.
A federal grand jury in Miami indicted Trump last month on 37 felony counts, including 31 counts of willfully withholding national defense information. Trump pleaded not guilty in a high-security hearing in Miami days later. Nauta struggled to find a local lawyer, but finally pleaded not guilty last week.
These hearings took place before federal magistrates. Neither defendant has yet appeared before Cannon, whom Trump nominated to the bench in 2020.
The defense submission urging the judge not to set a trial date came after a jockey earlier in the day between Smith’s team and Nauta’s lawyers over the timing of the first substantive hearing in the case .
Cannon has scheduled a hearing Friday to discuss issues related to the handling of classified information in a future lawsuit. But Woodward requested a postponement of that hearing because of his trial this week in Washington.
In a filing around noon Monday, prosecutors on Smith’s team strenuously opposed any delay. However, by evening, that dispute appeared to be on the verge of resolution, with all parties offering to appear in court at Cannon’s Fort Pierce, Florida, next Tuesday instead. However, the change requires the judge’s approval, which had not yet taken place as of Monday evening.
In the trial scheduling filing, defense attorneys said they plan to try to insist that none of the evidence presented at Trump’s trial be withheld from the public.
“Defendants believe that there should simply be no ‘secret’ evidence, or facts hidden from public view regarding the pursuit of a presidential candidate by his political opponent,” the defense attorneys wrote. .