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Donald Trump asks judge to delay classified documents trial

Former President Trump’s legal team asked the federal judge in Florida overseeing his classified documents case to postpone the trial without setting a new date, saying there is “no reason” for it to take place in December.

The Justice Department has asked U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon for a mid-December trial date, but Mr. Trump’s attorneys said having a trial in the middle of the 2024 election cycle could make it difficult to secure an impartial jury. Mr. Trump is currently the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.

“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,” Mr. Trump’s lawyers wrote in a filing late Monday.

Mr. Trump’s team asked Judge Cannon to withdraw the current order setting a trial date and “postpone” consideration of a new trial date.

“This extraordinary case presents a serious challenge to both the fact and perception of our American democracy,” Mr. Trump’s legal team wrote. “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.”

In a separate filing, also late Monday, Mr. Trump’s lawyers said they had reached an agreement with prosecutors to have the first appearance before Judge Cannon on July 18. That appearance will focus on the procedures of handling classified documents.

Mr. Trump is charged with 37 federal counts, including 31 counts of willful retention of classified government documents. The other counts include making false statements to federal agents and obstruction of justice.

He has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.

Walt Nauta, a Trump aide, is also charged in the case and has also pleaded not guilty. 

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