“No basis” to delay documents trial, Justice Department says: Donald Trump appears intent on delaying his trial in the federal documents case, possibly even after the 2024 election.
The Justice Department, it’s clear, wants no part of that.
Donald Trump Has Drama
Donald Trump was indicted in June on 37 federal counts alleging that he mishandled classified documents, as well as obstruction of justice.
This, along with Trump’s other indictment and at least two other ones that could be handed down later this year, raised all sorts of questions about how a potential trial could be timed with Trump’s efforts to run for president.
A trial date was first announced in mid-August, with the understanding that it would probably be delayed until later than that. Prosecutors have called for the trial to begin in December, although Trump’s attorneys have pushed for the trial to start even later than that- leading to speculation that Trump wants to delay the case until after the election. That way, if he wins, he can either instruct his Department of Justice to drop the case, or even pardon himself.
The Department of Justice made clear this week that they want no part in any such delay tactics.
In response to the attorneys for Trump and his codefendant, Walt Nauta, calling for indefinite delay in the case, the DOJ has argued that the request “borders on the frivolous.”
“There is no basis in law or fact for proceeding in such an indeterminate and open-ended fashion, and the defendants provide none,” prosecutors said in their filing this week, as reported by Axios. The filing also questions Trump’s attorneys’ dubious argument that the former president had the right under the Presidential Records Act to take any documents he wants after leaving office.
“As for the impact of the Presidential Records Act on this prosecution, any argument that it mandates dismissal of the Indictment or forms a defense to the charges here borders on frivolous,” the DOJ’s filing says. “The PRA is not a criminal statute, and in no way purports to address the retention of national security information. The Defendants are, of course, free to make whatever arguments they like for dismissal of the Indictment, and the Government will respond promptly. But they should not be permitted to gesture at a baseless legal argument, call it ‘novel,’ and then claim that the Court will require an indefinite continuance in order to resolve it.”
The Department of Justice also attempted to refute claims about the volume of discovery in the case making a delay necessary.
“The Defendants’ claims regarding the volume of discovery do not support continuing the trial date beyond December 2023. Rather, the thorough and organized discovery the Government has provided and will continue to provide in the near term is entirely consistent with that trial date.”
Per Axios, a Trump spokesperson accused the FBI and Department of Justice of working to “rush” the case because Trump is “dominating” in the 2024 election race.
It’s not clear when the judge in the case will rule on the motions.
Trump’s most recent Truth Social post, earlier this week, was of a similar tenor to those press statements.
“Crooked Joe Biden’s Targeted, Weaponized DOJ & FBI are a grave threat to our Democracy! They are doing Crooked’s DIRTY WORK in attacking and persecuting ‘TRUMP,’ and only doing so because I am CRUSHING DeSanctimonious and Biden in the Polls,” Trump said on his social network. “This is planned Election Interference of the highest magnitude, and used to only happen in Third World Countries. Now, sadly and terribly, it is happening right here in America and must be stopped if our Country is to survive. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!!!”
Expertise and Experience: Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.