(The Center Square) – Prosecutors don’t see any reason to push back the start of former President Donald Trump’s trial for allegedly mishandling classified documents.
The case is set to go to trial in May 2024. Trump’s legal team wants that delayed until mid-November 2024, after the presidential election.
“None of the issues raised in the defendants’ motion warrants the continuance they request,” prosecutors wrote in their response.
Prosecutors disputed claims from defense attorneys that Trump and his defendants, Walt Nauta and Carlos De Oliveira, hadn’t been provided discovery materials in a timely manner.
“The Government’s production of unclassified discovery has been prompt, comprehensive, thorough, and organized. The defense has complete access to it today, more than seven months before trial,” prosecutors wrote. “In no way does the Government’s record of unclassified discovery production in this case support a continuance.”
Trump’s attorneys said they haven’t had a place to review the classified documents in the case.
Prosecutors say that’s not the issue either.
“That the classified materials at issue in this case were taken from the White House and retained at Mar-a-Lago is not in dispute; what is in dispute is how that occurred, why it occurred, what Trump knew, and what Trump intended in retaining them – all issues that the Government will prove at trial primarily with unclassified evidence,” prosecutors wrote. “Whether the highly classified documents Trump retained at Mar-a-Lago contain national defense information is a fact Trump can try to dispute, but it will hardly be the centerpiece of the trial.”
Prosecutors did acknowledge some special evidence handling requirements for classified discovery.
“A small collection of highly sensitive and classified materials that Trump retained at the Mar-a-Lago Club are so sensitive that they require special measures, including enhanced security protocols for their transport, review, discussion, and storage,” prosecutors wrote. “The special measures documents constitute a tiny subset of the total array of classified documents involved, which is itself a small subset of the total discovery produced.”
Those documents, prosecutors say, are so sensitive additional precautions are needed, but those precautions aren’t holding up the case.
“The defendants’ allegations regarding clearances and secure facilities vastly overstate the impact on their access to classified discovery and their ability to prepare for trial, and do not justify a continuance,” prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said all but a tiny portion of the evidence has already been made available to the defense.
Trump, 77, is the front-runner for the Republican nomination for president. He faces legal challenges across the country as he seeks the GOP nomination, including four criminal cases, two of which were filed in federal court by special counsel Jack Smith.
In June, Trump pleaded not guilty to 37 counts that allege he kept sensitive military documents, shared them with people who didn’t have security clearance, and tried to thwart the government’s efforts to get them back. In August, Trump’s attorneys entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf to additional charges in the documents case. Charges in a superseding indictment allege Trump attempted to delete surveillance video at his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida.