Trump seeks delay of trial on mishandling classified documents

March 2, 2024 2:23 pm

Former U.S. President Donald Trump [Source: Reuters]

Donald Trump appeared in federal court in Florida on Friday to ask a judge to push back his criminal trial on charges of mishandling classified documents until the thick of the U.S. presidential campaign.

The frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination looked on as his lawyers told U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon that the trial should be pushed back from May 20 to Aug. 12, which would have him in court in the weeks before the Nov. 5 presidential election.

Federal prosecutors said the trial should start on July 8, just a week before the Republican nominating convention, where Trump is expected to be named his party’s standard-bearer.

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U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, who was appointed by Trump, did not indicate what date she would set.

Trump has sought to delay all of his four criminal trials as he campaigns for the presidency. If he were to win, he would be in a position to shut down this case and another that was brought under federal law.

His lawyers also say he cannot have a fair trial while running for president.

Federal prosecutor Jay Bratt said the August trial start floated by Trump’s lawyers amounted to a “fake date”, aimed at interfering with two of the other criminal cases that could go to trial during that time.

Bratt said a summer trial would not conflict with a U.S. Justice Department policy that bars prosecutors from bringing charges against political figures shortly before an election, as Trump was indicted last year.

After the hearing, a crowd of Trump supporters chanted his name and waved banners as his motorcade departed the courthouse 130 miles (209 km) north of Miami.