“Trump’s actions in the hours following the hearing … confirm his overriding interest in delaying both trials at any cost,” Department of Justice prosecutors wrote in a filing to Judge Aileen Cannon in Florida federal court. “This Court should [not] allow itself to be manipulated in this fashion.”
Prosecutors were referring to a Wednesday hearing before Cannon in which Trump’s lawyers argued that it would be impossible for them to simultaneously work on the Florida trial, which deals with Trump’s alleged retention of classified documents, and a D.C. trial dealing with 2020 election interference, both of which are being prosecuted by Smith’s team. As of Thursday, the D.C. trial is set to begin in early March, and the Florida case is slated to kickoff in May, both of which are in the heart of primary season.
Cannon seemed amenable to Trump’s pleas on Wednesday, saying, “I’m having a hard time seeing how this work can be accomplished in this compressed period of time.”
However, prosecutors argued in their Thursday filing that Trump’s lawyers never told Cannon that they were planning to submit a filing on Wednesday night in D.C. court asking for that trial to be delayed, as well. In the Wednesday night filing, Trump’s team insisted he shouldn’t have to face trial in D.C. while that court considers his bid to dismiss the case in its entirety.
Since Trump’s quartet of criminal indictments arrived in short succession earlier this year, the former president’s attorneys have tried a bit of everything to have trial dates pushed beyond the 2024 election, for which Trump remains the Republican frontrunner.
Their central delay tactic has been to repeatedly insist they need more time to review evidence ahead of trial—requesting delay after delay.
The latest bid by Trump’s attorneys in the D.C. case—in which Trump is accused of trying to block the transfer of power after the 2020 election—is likely a long-shot, CNN reported Thursday, because Judge Tanya Chutkan has already indicated she wants the March trial date to hold. CNN reported that Trump’s latest effort could lead to appeals, however, which could possibly push the trial back.
In Thursday’s filing, Smith’s prosecutors insisted to Cannon that a possible delay in the D.C. trial should not lead to a delay in her court.
“The trial date in the District of Columbia case should not be a determinative factor in the Court’s decision whether to modify the dates in this matter,” the filing read.