Former President Donald Trump was admonished by Special Counsel Jack Smith for requesting that the trial in his classified papers case be postponed until after the 2024 election, stating that Trump has no grounds to delay a trial that is now more than a year away.
“The defendants provide no credible justification to postpone a trial that is still seven months away,” Smith wrote in a point-by-point brief filed on Monday that deconstructed Trump’s request. “They are fully informed about the charges and the theory of the Government’s case from a highly detailed superseding indictment and comprehensive, organized unclassified and classified discovery.”
Trump filed a motion last week seeking that the trial be moved from May to November, arguing that Smith’s separate cases against Trump and their respective trial dates “currently require President Trump and his lawyers to be in two places at once.” Judge Aileen Cannon then halted all proceedings, including the docket, as she examined Trump’s request. Trump was accused in June of keeping hundreds of secret documents at his Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago, after leaving office, despite repeated attempts by the federal government to collect them.
Trump also alleged that Smith had not provided all discovery materials, as well as the secure locations and security clearances required to see sensitive data, giving the former president less time to build a competent defense.
Smith is skeptical, claiming that Trump had access to most files within days of his arraignment. “The Government has provided the defendants extensive, prompt, and well-organized unclassified discovery, yielding an exhaustive roadmap of proof of the detailed allegations in the superseding indictment,” he stated in the letter. “The vast majority of classified discovery is also available to the defendants.”
Trump’s assertions regarding a lack of safe facilities and security clearances are “inaccurate or incomplete; collectively, they are misleading,” Smith concluded. He also stated that Trump’s attorney, Chris Kise, has had an interim clearance since late July, allowing him to access a major chunk of the classified discovery material, and that the court took Kise’s commitments in a separate Trump lawsuit into account when setting the May date. Smith also stated that the special counsel’s office had no jurisdiction to determine when and where secure viewing locations for secret documents would be established, but that they should be available soon.
“Their unfounded claims of government noncompliance with discovery obligations do not support their request,” Smith wrote in his letter. “Their claims about being unable to review classified information are distorted and exaggerated, and the government expects the CISO to resolve any outstanding issues this week.”There is no need to postpone the trial. The motion of the defendants should be denied.”