Jack Smith fires back as Trump tries to delay classified documents trial until after 2024 election

‘The defendants provide no credible justification to postpone a trial that is still seven months away,’ the special counsel said

Kelly Rissman
Tuesday 10 October 2023 12:50 EDT
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Special Counsel Jack Smith has blasted former president Donald Trump’s request to postpone his classified documents trial until after the 2024 election.

Mr Smith pointed out that not only is Mr Trump asking “the Court to continue the trial for an additional seven months” but that a delay had already been rejected by the court “less than three months ago”.

The classified documents trial is set to begin in May 2024.

“The defendants provide no credible justification to postpone a trial that is still seven months away,” Mr Smith wrote.

“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.”

Mr Trump faces 40 charges over his alleged mishandling of classified documents and has pleaded not guilty to all. These charges include violations of the Espionage Act, conspiracy to obstruct justice, making false statements to investigators, and illegally retaining national defense information. He faces a potential maximum sentence of 450 years behind bars.

Mr Trump, who is Republican frontrunner in the 2024 presidential race, claimed that a delay was necessary in the classified documents case because it clashes with another of his legal battles - the January 6 case - slated to begin in March 2024 in Washington DC.

The trials’ clash “currently require President Trump and his lawyers to be in two places at once”, the defendant’s motion argued last week.

Mr Trump also claimed that “discovery is not complete” in the classified documents case and that there is a lack of secure facilities necessary “for the handling of the relevant classified information”.

In his response on Monday, Mr Smith pushed back on the motion.

“The defendants have repeatedly distorted the comprehensive, organized, and timely unclassified discovery that the Government has produced,” he wrote.

To elaborate, Mr Smith pointed out: “The facts are that on June 21, 2023, eight days after Trump was arraigned, the Government produced to him some 800,000 pages of unclassified discovery, including, among other material, identification of approximately 4,500 pages of key documents.”

The special counsel added that, more than seven months out from the trial, Mr Trump’s defense team has “complete access” to the “comprehensive, thorough, and organized” unclassified discovery.

Mr Smith denounced the motion’s allegations as collectively “misleading”.

He highlighted that Chris Kise, Mr Trump’s attorney, has had an interim security clearance since July which allowed him to review thousands of pages of classified documents that were made available on 13 September.

In summary, Mr Smith wrote that the defendants’ “unfounded claims of Government noncompliance with discovery obligations do not support their request”.

“There is no reason to adjourn the trial date. The defendants’ motion should be denied,” he added.

Judge Aileen Cannon has yet to make a decision on the requests.

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