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A trial in Trump’s Florida case is not happening anytime soon: “Cannon is expected to further delay the case”

During the ongoing New York case trial where Trump is accused of hush money payments during the 2016 presidential campaign, his legal team manages to delay the start of the trials in all three cases where the former president faces charges. One of these cases is the Florida classified documents case, which, according to many experts, is the most serious for the presumptive Republican presidential candidate. Postponing the start of the trials has been Trump’s legal team’s strategy since he was initially indicated last year.

A huge win

Earlier this week, Donald Trump and his legal team struck another huge win in the Florida classified documents case. Trump appointed U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon to the bench during his presidency, once again confirmed what many legal experts have been warning about for months: bias. With dozens of controversial decisions against the prosecutions that are indeed benefiting Trump and other codefendants, Judge Cannon’s name is regularly in the focus of the media and legal experts. In the latest such decision from earlier this week, Judge Cannon postponed the start of the trial indefinitely, ultimately giving Trump what he has always wanted to achieve.

Killing the case

Last June, Judge Cannon was appointed to oversee special counsel Jack Smith’s case involving the former president. After nearly a year, she did what many expected: effectively eliminated any realistic chance of a trial before the November election. She argued that setting a trial date would be “imprudent and inconsistent” given the need to carefully consider pending pre-trial motions, as reported by The Washington Post. An indefinite postponement, she continued, is consistent with Trump’s “right to due process and the public’s interest in the fair and efficient administration of justice.”

What’s next?

The next hearing in the case is slated for July 22. This guarantees no trial will happen before then and likely not before the election. If Trump wins the presidency, he could appoint an attorney general who could dismiss the case altogether.

However, legal experts argue that Judge Cannon, a former federal prosecutor appointed in 2020, bears responsibility if she feels overwhelmed by the numerous unresolved pre-trial motions. Brandon Von Grack, a former Department of Justice attorney who served on Bob Mueller’s team, remarked that it’s “highly unusual” for a judge to hold three days of hearings to determine the “scope” of the prosecution’s legal team.

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U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon effectively eliminated any realistic chance of Trump's Florida case trial before the November election
Aileen Cannon testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee, seeking confirmation to U.S. District Court Senate Judiciary Committee

Further delaying the start of the trial

Judge Cannon is anticipated to extend delays further by considering a defense claim that Donald Trump and his aide, Walter Nauta, were targets of “prosecutorial misconduct and vindictive and selective prosecution,” according to Lawfare’s senior editor Roger Parloff. He highlighted that Cannon has “already shown herself receptive to these themes.”

As reported by Alan Feuer of The New York Times, the delays can’t solely be attributed to the complexity of the case or the high-profile defendant. “Over and over,” he commented, “Judge Cannon … has treated seriously arguments that many, if not most, federal judges would have rejected out of hand.”

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon effectively eliminated any realistic chance of Trump's Florida case trial before the November election
Classified intelligence material found during search of Mar-a-Lago. Courtesy of Wikipedia

Special treatment

Neil Katyal, a former acting U.S. solicitor general, argued that the case isn’t nearly as complicated as Judge Cannon has suggested. He believes that Trump is being treated very differently from other defendants accused of stealing classified documents, some of which involved sensitive military strategies and nuclear weapons. Speaking on MSNBC, he expressed his lack of optimism for the trial happening before November, admitting he has “lost any hope of seeing this trial take place before November.”

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon effectively eliminated any realistic chance of Trump's Florida case trial before the November election
Donald Trump, Credit: Deposit Photos

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“This decision, and the handling of this case, start to finish, have been atrocious,” Katyal said. “This is not a hard case, it does not require the amount of delay that we’ve had. The case is pretty simple… a guy stole some documents, he hid them, when the government came and looked for them, he lied and hid them,” he continued. “That’s it. It’s not rocket science. And yet this judge has slow-walked this thing to death.”

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