This morning Judge Aileen Cannon did Donald Trump a stable and denied his movement to delay the May 20, 2024 trial date within the paperwork case.
Well, kind of.
The choose started her temporary order by formally refusing the request to postpone the day of reckoning. This would seem on the floor to be a loss for the previous president, if it hadn’t been instantly adopted by a delay of deadlines on this case such that it will likely be nigh unimaginable to go forward with the trial as scheduled. For occasion, a listening to on compliance with § 4 of the Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA) which was initially set for October 17 “if necessary,” was moved to February 15 and 16.
As Lawfare’s Roger Parloff factors out on Twitter, this strongly means that Judge Cannon is gearing up for a protracted dispute over the categorized paperwork Trump stole and stashed in a storage locker at Mar-a-Lago, permitting Trump latitude to have interaction in precisely the “graymail” CIPA was designed to stop.
CIPA § 4 lays out an ex parte evaluate course of for when the federal government seeks to withhold categorized proof from the protection. But in her November 1 order staying the CIPA deadlines, Judge Cannon prompt that this combat was solely “potentially on an ex parte basis.” In distinction, Judge Tanya Chutkan, who’s presiding over the election interference case in DC, brushed apart Trump’s try and intrude on the § 4 listening to, writing that “the defense identifies no case in which any court has ordered the relief they seek here, and this court is aware of none.”
Moreover, the ruling final week with respect to Trump’s co-defendants Walt Nauta and Carlos De Oliveira highlights Judge Cannon’s plan to let Trump leverage CIPA to extract delay. In that spherical, prosecutors sought to disclaim the valet and groundskeeper entry to categorized proof, since understanding what secrets and techniques have been within the containers they shifted round to evade subpoena isn’t germane to their protection to mendacity to the feds about it. But the court docket refused, ordering the federal government to argue by the CIPA § 4 course of towards disclosing every categorized doc to Trump’s hapless goons. So in essence, the choose put the rabbit within the hat right here, guaranteeing that the combat will likely be protracted and onerous — after which shifting it to only a few weeks earlier than the scheduled trial date, at which level she will throw up her palms and declare that she merely has to postpone.
Judge Cannon additional suggestions her hand by giving credence to Trump’s complaints about voluminous discovery.
“Defense counsel advised during the November 1, 2023, hearing that data stored in the folders downloads and processes at a very slow rate, making review cumbersome, and requiring additional equipment,” she murmurs sympathetically, whereas tut-tutting that the federal government did not designate a SCIF in Miami earlier than indicting the previous president for stealing categorized paperwork.
Judge Cannon has putatively calendared a scheduling convention for March 1, simply three days earlier than the beginning date for the DC case, “to address remaining deadlines in a reasoned manner.” And that if this case was being heard by a jurist who didn’t try and derail it in 2022, earlier than being humiliatingly slapped down by the eleventh Circuit, nobody would bat a watch. But taken in mild of all the pieces we’ve seen, it’s clear that prosecutors are going to need to take an interlocutory attraction to the eleventh Circuit in the event that they wish to defend categorized proof. At which level, Judge Cannon can postpone this trial till after the election and blame the federal government.
And in case it wasn’t clear who received as we speak, Trump’s spokesman Steven Cheung confirmed it.
“We look forward to the conference set by Judge Cannon for next March, where future scheduling matters, including a potential trial date, will be discussed,” he crowed, including “It is clearly in the best interest of Justice for President Trump to have adequate time to prepare and file motions as he works to defeat these hoaxes and marches back to the White House.”
US v. Trump [SDFL Docket via Court Listener]
US v. Trump [DDC Docket via Court Listener]
Liz Dye lives in Baltimore the place she writes about legislation and politics and seems on the Opening Arguments podcast.