Florida judge indefinitely postpones donald trump classified documents trial

The criminal trial over former US President Donald Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified documents was on Tuesday indefinitely postponed by a Florida judge, making it unlikely that the case will be heard before the presidential elections slated to be held in November this year, news agency AFP reported.

Trump, who is also facing trial in New York for a hush money case, was fined for the 10th time on May 7 for violating a gag order and was even warned by the judge of a possible jail time. Currently, he is on trial for in New York on state charges for falsifying business records to pay hush money to a porn star ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

The trial pertaining to the classififed documents was supposed to be heard on May 20. However, the District Judge Aileen Cannon postponed it stating that it was not possible to be heard because of the several pre-trial motions before the court. A Trump apointee herself, Cannon, did not set a new date for the commencement of the federal trial.

This development will pose as a major setback for special counsel Jack Smith, who is the one who slapped the charges against the former president.

The US presidential elections is now less than six months away and will witness Trump, who is a Republican presumptive nominee fight the eloctoral battle against the Democrats’ Joe Biden. 

Trump’s attorneys have been seeking to delay several criminal cases against him and push them until after the election, when it would possibly be easier for the 77-year-old former president to have the federal charges dropped against him if he wrests the White House from Joe Biden, the AFP report noted.

What Is the Classified Documents Case Against Trump?

According to the indicment, Trump withheld classified files, which included record from CIA, National Security Agency, and Pentagon, in an unsecured way at his home in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, and thwarted the efforts by the officials to retrieve them, AFP reported.

In June last year, Trump pleaded not guilty in Florida to 40 federal charges accusing him of unlawfully retaining sensitive national defence information (Espionage Act), making false statements, and conspiracy to obstruct justice after leaving office in 2021.

In her order, Cannon stated that the sheer number of pre-trial motions in addition to the classified nature of some of the evidence in the case, makes it impossible for the trial to be carried out in May.

“The Court therefore vacates the current May 20, 2024 trial date,”Cannon stated.

The Florida judge further stated that a new date would be “reset by separate order following resolution of the matters before the Court, consistent with the Defendants’ right to due process and the public’s interest in the fair and efficient administration of justice,” the AFP report noted.

Apart from the the New York and Florida cases, the former president has also been charged in Georgia and Washington for trying to overturn the 2020 election results won by Democrat Joe Biden, who would likely be his opponent in November elections.

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