Special Counsel seeks to prevent Trump from “upending” classified documents case

September 28, 2023

Special Counsel Jack Smith’s team late Wednesday submitted a court filing to prevent attorneys for former President Trump from upending the schedule of the classified documents case. 

In their filing, federal prosecutors asserted that the Trump team’s proposed delay of various deadlines for procedures to address classified evidence “threatens to upend the entire schedule established by the Court and that amounts to a motion to continue the May 20, 2024 trial date.”

At issue are deadlines set by Judge Aileen Cannon of the U.S. District in Southern Florida for how to deal with several expected motions under the Classified Information Procedures Act, which regulates the process of discovery, disclosure, and protection of classified information in federal courts.

As the schedule currently stands, some activity is set to be compressed in the months before the case goes to trial, but prosecutors assert that the Trump team’s request would place an unnecessary three-month delay on motions regarding discovery.

Because of the classified nature of the materials, the government need only turn over evidence that is “relevant and helpful.” Smith’s team argued in Wednesday’s filing that Trump’s attorneys already have enough information to stake out their legal positions. 

Trump has pleaded not guilty to a total of 41 criminal counts related to his handling of classified documents post-Presidency, including 31 counts for willful retention of national defense secrets in violation of the Espionage Act.

The prosecution stems from an August 8, 2022 FBI raid on in Trump’s Florida residence Mar-a-Lago, in which agents seized, under search warrant, at least 100 classified documents.

The classified documents case is one of four ongoing prosecutions of the former President, who altogether faces a total of 91 criminal counts at both the state—New York and Georgia—and federal levels.

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