(Bloomberg) -- Donald Trump, whose civil fraud trial started this week in New York after his failed bid to push it back, now has his eye on delaying fast-approaching deadlines in the federal criminal cases against him in Washington and Florida.
The former president is asking judges to reshape the calendars in both cases. Prosecutors are calling it a not-so-veiled attempt to reopen fights he lost over the trials set for next year.
In Florida, where Trump is charged with mishandling state secrets, the government is opposing a defense proposal to push key dates in the coming weeks into January. In Washington, where Trump is due to file challenges to the 2020 election obstruction indictment by Oct. 9, prosecutors on Monday objected to his request for a two-month extension.
Trump “should not be permitted to delay the trial until his preferred 2026 trial date, already rejected by the court, through unwarranted extensions,” prosecutors wrote.
The federal trials in Washington and Florida are set for March 4 and May 20, respectively. Judges in both cases rejected Trump’s request for dates after the November 2024 election. In the meantime, Trump is contending with the fraud trial in Manhattan, a trial set for January in a civil defamation suit, and two state criminal prosecutions — all against the backdrop of his third run for the White House.
Trump’s lawyers haven’t asked for new trial dates in the cases brought by Special Counsel John “Jack” Smith’s office. But in Florida, his attorneys recently told the judge they were considering it. In Washington, his defense team argued a later deadline for motions wouldn’t disrupt the March trial but noted the “unprecedented” timeline.
Most pretrial rulings can’t be appealed right away but Trump’s lawyers previously told the judge in Washington that they’d likely ask to pause the trial if there’s a fight over whether the former president is entitled to executive immunity.
On Sept. 28, Trump’s team asked US District Judge Tanya Chutkan to extend their deadline to file the immunity claim and other legal challenges from Oct. 9 to Dec. 8. They wrote that “despite due diligence,” they needed more time “to address these complex and novel legal questions.” They also objected to the government’s proposed time frame to deal with issues related to classified evidence.
Smith’s team argued Chutkan already considered arguments by Trump’s lawyers about “novel” issues in play when she set the schedule. The two-month extension would create a “cascade of conflicts” with other deadlines, they wrote. They also pushed back on a longer timeline to deal with classified information, saying there was a “limited” amount of material at issue and that some of Trump’s lawyers hadn’t submitted paperwork to get security clearances yet.
In Florida, Oct. 10 is the next big date. Prosecutors are due to ask US District Judge Aileen Cannon to let them summarize certain pieces of classified information instead of giving Trump’s lawyers access to everything. They can also ask to delete references to state secrets altogether, but have to show why it’s not relevant to the defense.
The government’s filing is for the judge’s eyes only. But defendants in these types of cases can give the judge a summary of their defense theories to try to show that a wider range of evidence is relevant. Trump’s submission is also due Oct. 10.
In a Sept. 22 filing, Trump’s lawyers argued they hadn’t received all of the evidence — or had enough time to review material they do have — to develop their defense theories. They suggested a new schedule where Cannon would first resolve issues over the universe of evidence that Trump’s lawyers believe he’s entitled to as he prepares his case.
Then, under Trump’s proposal, the government would have until Jan. 5 to ask to withhold or delete classified information. Trump would face a Jan. 12 deadline to give Cannon his defense theories.
Prosecutors countered that the revised deadlines would make a May trial date an “impossibility” and that the defense “falsely accused” them of dragging their feet in producing evidence.
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