As the Manhattan hush money case against Donald Trump nears its conclusion, a new phase of pretrial activity begins Wednesday in the federal classified documents prosecution the former president is facing in Florida.

US District Judge Aileen Cannon will hear arguments from defense attorneys on two separate bids to throw out charges in the case. In the first motion, Trump’s valet and co-defendant Walt Nauta alleges he is being vindictively prosecuted, and in the second, Trump and his co-defendants argue the indictment suffers technical flaws requiring its dismissal.

Trump is accused by special counsel Jack Smith of taking classified national defense documents from the White House after he left office and of resisting the government’s attempts to retrieve the materials. Trump, Nauta and Mar-a-Lago property manager Carlos De Oliveira have all pleaded not guilty.

Trump has obtained permission from the judge to skip Wednesday’s proceedings, which will start at 10 a.m. ET in the Fort Pierce, Florida, courthouse.

The hearing is the first before the judge since she delayed indefinitely the start of the trial, which had been scheduled to begin as early as this week. It has been more than a month since the judge last held a public, in-person hearing in the case – though she has held at least one sealed proceeding since then.

When postponing the trial, Cannon pointed to the mountain of unresolved pretrial issues for not putting a new date on the calendar. Wednesday kicks off a stretch of hearings scheduled through late July that will get the case through some – but not all – of the pretrial issues.

Cannon’s slow pace in the case has attracted criticisms from outside legal experts, who have accused the Trump-appointed judge of playing into delay tactics by the GOP’s presumptive White House nominee. Unless Cannon picks up her momentum considerably, it appears unlikely the charges will go before a jury before the 2024 election. If Trump wins the White House, it is expected he will make the charges against him go away.

Until recent days, several major motions from Trump attacking the prosecution were not even publicly docketed. The proceedings have become mired in disputes over what should be redacted in public filings.

On Tuesday, hundreds of pages of previously sealed court filings were posted publicly as part of efforts by the former president to have the charges against him thrown out. Those filings included a previously sealed March 2023 ruling by a federal judge in Washington, DC, finding there was “sufficient” evidence that Trump committed crimes, allowing investigators to obtain information from his former lawyer that would normally be protected by attorney-client privilege.

Trump is seeking to throw out that evidence, as well as the evidence obtained in the FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago in August 2022, from which investigators obtained many of the documents underlying several of the charges against Trump.

Those motions are not scheduled for argument on Wednesday, and Cannon has not yet set a hearing on them.

In her order Sunday allowing for the filings to be made public, Cannon took a shot at prosecutors – one of several swipes she’s made at Smith’s office. She expressed “concern” the special counsel’s office had sought redactions of information in the newly unsealed filings after previously giving its OK for that information to be published in full in earlier court filings.

“The Court is disappointed in these developments. The sealing and redaction rules should be applied consistently and fairly upon a sufficient factual and legal showing,” Cannon wrote. “And parties should not make requests that undermine any prior representations or positions except upon full disclosure to the Court and appropriate briefing.”


Leave A Reply

© 2024 Time Bulletin. All Rights Reserved.