Donald Trump, AFBF, Austin, TX
Former President Donald Trump. Photo credit: Lance Cheung / Flickr (Public Domain Mark 1.0)

Instead of defending himself in court against charges that he violated the Espionage Act, former President Donald Trump is trying to run out the clock.

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You’d think that a man who is the totally innocent victim of a witch hunt and charged with a bogus crime would be eager to get to trial. And that may be true. Former President Donald Trump, however, is not such a man, and therefore his legal team wants to delay his trial for stealing classified documents and obstructing justice for at least 16 months.

Citing the unique nature of the case, Trump’s lawyers argued in a late night court filing on Monday that there is a need for a “measured consideration and timeline.”

What would such a measured timeline look like?

Later on in their filing, Trump’s lawyers suggest that it would be impossible for the former president to get a fair trial prior to the election.

“Proceeding to trial during the pendency of a Presidential election cycle wherein opposing candidates are effectively (if not literally) directly adverse to one another in this action will create extraordinary challenges in the jury selection process and limit the Defendants’ ability to secure a fair and impartial adjudication,” they write.

In addition, they note that Trump is busy campaigning, which requires “a tremendous amount of time and energy” from now until November 5, 2024.

What they did not mention is that, if Trump were to become the GOP nominee and were to lose another election, he would probably spend even more time and energy on trying to overturn the results again in the aftermath. Therefore, it is curious that they did not seek to delay the trial until at least another potential insurrection in January of 2025.

In addition to the political component, they also cite logistical challenges that would warrant such a glacial trial pace.

These not only include the classified nature of some of the evidence, but also the fact that Trump will have to prepare for a civil trial this October and a criminal trial in March 2024.

In other words, he is accused of too many other crimes, so special counsel Jack Smith needs to wait his turn in line.

Now, mind you, Trump has been proclaiming often and loudly (i.e., in all-caps) that he is innocent and this case is very open-and-shut. He has offered a variety of potential defenses, all of which he seems to believe will totally exonerate him.

These range from him having mentally declassified all of the documents to the infamous “Clinton socks case,” but they do not address the other crimes Trump has been charged with.

Obviously, none of this is surprising.

Delaying trials to wait out his opponents has been one of Trump’s legal strategies. And there is a good chance that it will work again in this case.

That’s because the judge presiding over the case, Aileen Cannon, has previously made some eyebrow-raising rulings favoring Trump. And who can blame her? After all, it was Trump who got Cannon her job.

That didn’t come up in his lawyers’ filing, however.


  • Klaus Marre

    Klaus Marre is a writer, editor, former congressional reporter, and director of the WhoWhatWhy Mentor Apprentice Program. Follow him on Twitter @KlausMarre.

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