A federal judge in Florida, for now, declined to delay the start of former President Trump’s criminal case over his handling of classified documents, though she did push back several pretrial deadlines in the case.
U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon ruled Friday that she would dismiss the motion from Trump’s legal team “without prejudice” against taking it up again in the future. The trial’s start date could be reconsidered at a scheduling conference March 1, she wrote.
The order is a small victory for special counsel Jack Smith’s team, which had strongly argued against any delays in the case by suggesting that the former president wanted to push the case until after the 2024 presidential election. Trump is the undisputed front-runner in the GOP presidential primary.
When Cannon heard arguments about a potential delay earlier this month, she appeared ready to side with Trump’s attorneys’ request to postpone the trial, saying she “has a hard time seeing how realistically this [current schedule] would work.”
The Florida judge noted the 1.3 million pages of evidence — plus thousands of hours of security video shot at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort — that prosecutors in the Mar-a-Lago case gave to the defense in discovery, in addition to the former president’s other legal woes with schedules of their own.
“I am not quite seeing a level of understanding on your part to these realities,” Cannon said at the time to prosecutor Jay Bratt, a member of special counsel Jack Smith’s team.
Trump’s classified documents trial is scheduled to begin May 20, a little over two months after his Washington, D.C.-based trial on charges linked to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election is set to begin, March 4. Trump’s criminal case in New York over a hush-money payment is set to head to trial March 25, and a trial in Trump’s fourth criminal case, linked to his actions in Georgia after the 2020 election, has not yet been scheduled.
Trump is facing Espionage Act charges in the Mar-a-Lago case after refusing to return classified records from his time as president, as well as obstruction of justice charges for his efforts to conceal them from prosecutors.
Updated at 11 a.m. ET