Trump seeks to delay trial in Mar-a-Lago documents case


(Reuters) -Donald Trump and an aide, Walt Nauta, have asked a federal court in Florida to postpone the criminal trial in the Mar-a-Lago documents case and drop the current date, a filing by the former U.S. president’s lawyers showed.

Prosecutors had already asked District Judge Aileen Cannon for a delay until Dec. 11, from an initial date of Aug. 14, so as to give both sides more time to prepare.

But in the filing late on Monday, Trump’s lawyers said a December trial date would deny them reasonable time to prepare, and described the government’s requested schedule as “unrealistic.”

“The court should therefore withdraw the current order setting trial and postpone any consideration of a new trial date,” the lawyers said, adding that a continuance was both necessary and appropriate.

The U.S. Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside regular hours.

Trump, the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, pleaded not guilty in federal court on June 13 in Miami to charges that he had unlawfully kept classified national security documents when he left office in 2021 and lied to officials who sought to recover them.

In the filing, Trump’s lawyers said a December trial was untenable in view of the logistical demands of his presidential election bid, a potentially large amount of evidence they might need to review, and other cases he faces.

The documents case will unfold under a strict set of rules prescribed by the Classified Information Procedures Act, which aims to protect classified evidence and manage disclosure of such records.

U.S. Special Counsel Jack Smith, in his June 23 request to delay the trial by about four months, had anticipated that Trump’s side would oppose the proposed prosecution schedule.

Nauta, Trump’s aide, pleaded not guilty last week in a Miami federal courthouse to charges that he had helped Trump hide top secret documents taken when he left the White House.

(Reporting by Bharat Govind Gautam in Bengaluru; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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