Former President Donald Trump wants to delay his trial in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case until after the election citing election interference. His lawyers noted that prosecuting Trump while he is a presidential candidate would harm American democracy.
Trump’s prosecution is seen as political at home and abroad. Last month a poll found that 47 percent of voters thought the prosecution was political.
The former president’s defenders contrast his treatment with that of Hunter Biden; however, some Democrats noted that Trump could have avoided the indictment had he listened to his lawyers and reached a plea deal with the Justice Department.
Lawyers: Prosecuting Trump Before the Election Interferes With Democracy
“This extraordinary case presents a serious challenge to both the fact and perception of our American democracy,” Trump’s defense team wrote in its filing. “The Court now presides over a prosecution advanced by the administration of a sitting President against his chief political rival, himself a leading candidate for the Presidency of the United States.”
Trump pleaded not guilty to the 37-count indictment last month. The Justice Department wants the trial to take place in January before the start of the primary season. Federal District Judge Aileen Cannon set Trump’s trial date for mid-August.
“There is simply no question any trial of this action during the pendency of a presidential election will impact both the outcome of that election and, importantly, the ability of the defendants to obtain a fair trial,” they said.
Donald Trump Questions Ability to Get Fair Trial
“Proceeding to trial during the pendency of a Presidential election cycle wherein opposing candidates are effectively (if not literally) directly adverse to one another in this action will create extraordinary challenges in the jury selection process and limit the Defendants’ ability to secure a fair and impartial adjudication,” Trump’s lawyers wrote in their filing.
Trump’s co-defendant, Walt Nauta, was arraigned last week after obtaining Florida legal counsel. The first pretrial conference between Trump’s legal team and the Justice Department will be on July 18.
Trump stands accused of having illegally held onto classified documents after leaving office. The documents allegedly included ones from the CIA, Defense Department, and National Reconnaissance Office among other involved agencies, containing sensitive information. The National Archives repeatedly demanded that Trump return the documents after he left the White House. Trump reportedly refused. Which led to a complaint being sent to the Justice Department that led up to the raid at Mar-a-Lago last August.
The FBI reportedly found over 100 highly classified documents in the former president’s possession.
The former president had claimed he had declassified all of the documents in his possession prior to leaving office.
Yet audio obtained by the prosecution and leaked to CNN has Trump saying documents he showed a reporter and staffers without security clearances had not been appropriately declassified.
“[General Milley] said that I wanted to attack Iran, Isn’t it amazing?” Trump said. “I have a big pile of papers, this thing just came up. Look. This was him. They presented me this – this is off the record but – they presented me this. This was him. This was the Defense Department and him.”
Trump continued: “I was just thinking, because we were talking about it. And you know, he said, ‘He wanted to attack Iran, and what …’”
He then claimed he never declassified the document.
“See as president I could have declassified it,” Trump says. “Now I can’t, you know, but this is still a secret.”
“Now we have a problem,” his staffer responds.
“Isn’t that interesting,” Trump then says.
Despite Trump’s legal problem, he and Biden remain essentially tied according to the latest Messenger poll.
John Rossomando is a defense and counterterrorism analyst and served as Senior Analyst for Counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, The National Interest, National Review Online, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award for his reporting.