The judge presiding over the case against former President Donald Trump involving allegations surrounding classified documents indefinitely postponed the trial date Tuesday.

United States District Judge Aileen M. Cannon, a Trump appointee, said that setting a date would be “imprudent” before a number of pre-trial motions were addressed in her ruling. Special counsel Jack Smith unsealed a superseding indictment on July 27, 2023, that included charges against Carlos De Oliveira, a maintenance worker at Mar-a-Lago, the Florida estate owned by Trump after the special counsel initially secured a 37-count indictment against Trump and aide Walter Nauta in June 2023.

 

“The Court also determines that finalization of a trial date at this juncture—before resolution of the myriad and interconnected pre-trial and CIPA issues remaining and forthcoming—would be imprudent and inconsistent with the Court’s duty to fully and fairly consider the various pending pre-trial motions before the Court, critical CIPA issues, and additional pretrial and trial preparations necessary to present this case to a jury,” Cannon wrote. “The Court therefore vacates the current May 20, 2024, trial date (and associated calendar call), to be reset by separate order following resolution of the matters before the Court, consistent with Defendants’ right to due process and the public’s interest in the fair and efficient administration of justice.”

Smith admitted in a Friday afternoon filing that evidence had not been properly maintained by federal investigators following the Aug. 8, 2022, raid on Mar-a-Lago, the Florida estate owned by the former president.

 

“There are some boxes where the order of items within that box is not the same as in the associated scans,” Smith’s filing said. “There are several possible explanations, including the above-described instances in which the boxes were accessed, as well as the size and shape of certain items in the boxes possibly leading to movement of items. For example, the boxes contain items smaller than standard paper such as index cards, books, and stationary, which shift easily when the boxes are carried, especially because many of the boxes are not full.”

Smith’s Friday filing also admitted in a footnote that the statement was “inconsistent” with what Cannon had been told in previous arguments.

Trump’s attorneys filed a motion Tuesday to address the reported violations, saying they would likely file additional motions.

“It never occurred to us, until last Friday, that the prosecution team could not be trusted to perform the basic task of maintaining the integrity of such evidence despite the expansive resources at their disposal,” Trump’s attorneys wrote.

 

“These issues implicate, for example, President Trump’s motion to suppress evidence seized from Mar-a-Lago and the motion to dismiss based on prosecutorial misconduct,” Trump’s attorney’s added. “President Trump will move to compel further disclosures regarding these issues in the event the Office does not turn over the materials sought in the May 4, 2024 letter. Moreover, after those further required disclosures, it is likely that President Trump will file additional motions for sanctions based on spoliation, including a motion to dismiss the charges if the Office cannot prove in a reliable way how it seized and handled the key evidence in the case, which will be a central issue at any trial.”

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