Washington DC [US]: The legal team of United States’ former President Donald Trump has asked the federal judge to postpone his trial on charges of illegally retaining classified documents after he left office, said that the proceeding should not begin until all “substantive motions” in the case were resolved, The New York Times reported.
The former president’s legal team, on Monday, argued in a court filing that no trial date should be set until all “substantive motions” in the case were resolved, setting up an early key decision by Judge Aileen M. Cannon. If granted, it could push Trump’s trial into the final stages of the presidential campaign in which he is now the Republican front-runner or even past the 2024 election.
While timing is important in any criminal matter, it could be hugely consequential in Trump’s case, in which he stands accused of illegally holding on to 31 classified documents after leaving the White House and obstructing the government’s repeated efforts to reclaim them.
The filing came in response to one submitted last month by prosecutors working for the special counsel, Jack Smith, who requested a trial date of December 11. Judge Cannon, appearing to adopt the brisk calendar mandated by the Speedy Trial Act, had initially scheduled the case to go to trial in August, reported The New York Times.
Trump’s lawyers pitched their request to Judge Cannon as a plea for cautious deliberation and as a means of safeguarding democracy.
Trump is the first current or former president in US history to face criminal charges. Beyond the federal charges he faces connected to the documents, he also faces New York state charges related to falsifying business records in connection to hush-money payments made to a porn star.
Trump has been charged with three pre-election hush-money cases, including the one made to adult film star Stormy Daniels, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg said in an official statement.
In the statement, the attorney mentioned three instances of the ‘catch and kill’ scheme in Donald Trump’s indictment.
“In one instance, American Media Inc. (“AMI”), paid USD 30,000 to a former Trump Tower doorman, who claimed to have a story about a child TRUMP had out of wedlock,” Bragg said in a statement.
The attorney also stated that AMI paid USD 150,000 was paid to the woman who claimed to have a sexual relationship with Trump. And former President asked his lawyer to reimburse AMI in cash.
AMI admitted its conduct was unlawful in an agreement with federal prosecutors and made false entries in its business records concerning the true purpose of the USD 150,000 payment.
“In a third instance – 12 days before the presidential general election – the Special Counsel wired USD 130,000 to an attorney for an adult film actress. The Special Counsel, who has since pleaded guilty and served time in prison for making the illegal campaign contribution, made the payment through a shell corporation funded through a bank in Manhattan,” the statement read.
Bragg also said that during the 2016 election, Trump and others employed a “catch and kill” scheme to identify, purchase, and bury negative information about him and boost his electoral prospects.