Donald Trump’s lawyers renewed their push Wednesday to postpone the former president’s classified documents trial until November 2024, a timeline that would move the case to the sidelines of the next presidential election.
In a Florida court filing, Trump’s legal team argued that the trial, scheduled for May, should start at least six months later because of another federal trial in which Trump will be tried as a defendant. They also argued that prosecutors in special counsel Jack Smith’s office haven’t yet handed over all evidence.
Trump lawyers Todd Blanche and Christopher Kise wrote that they still can’t access nine documents that Smith’s office charged Trump with retaining illegally after he left the White House. They said government prosecutors haven’t explained why a batch of discovery materials that doubled the volume of materials was withheld until recently.
In addition, they wrote that Smith’s office is withholding “certain [unclassified] agents’ communications” from discovery and that there are still outstanding classified materials that haven’t been made available to Trump’s attorneys.
The lawyers further argued that overlapping demands of the special counsel’s two cases against Trump are impeding his defense and violating his due process rights. Trump is set to go on trial in Washington, D.C., starting March 4 in the case involving efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.
“The Special Counsel’s Office is engaged in a reckless effort to try to obtain a conviction of President Trump prior to the 2024 Election, no matter the cost. The Court should not permit the use of the criminal justice process toward that end,” Trump’s lawyers wrote.
Over the summer, the federal court in Florida that is overseeing the case rejected a previous request to move the classified documents trial to November 2024.
The special counsel’s office declined to comment on the new filing; it pointed to a filing prosecutors submitted this week regarding Trump’s request to delay the trial until November 2024.
Smith’s office argued Monday that the “unfounded claims” by Trump’s lawyers about “Government noncompliance with discovery obligations do not support their request.”
“Their claims about their inability to review classified information are distorted and exaggerated, and, in any event, the Government expects that the [classified information security officer] will resolve any remaining issues this week. There is no reason to adjourn the trial date. The defendants’ motion should be denied,” prosecutors wrote.
Rebecca Shabad is a politics reporter for NBC News based in Washington.
Katherine Doyle is a White House reporter for NBC News.