The Federal Judge Hands Trump a Major Gift: Trial Set for Warp Speed Defies Expectations
The federal judge overseeing the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case has handed former President Trump a huge gift by accelerating the legal proceedings, scheduling a trial just two months from now.
According to a Politico report Tuesday, Judge Aileen M. Cannon, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, has implemented what is known as a “rocket docket,” a strategy to expedite the trial process. However, the date could be pushed back on by one or both sides, and Trump’s lawyers are expected to file a motion to dismiss the case.
Trump classified documents trial date set for Aug. 14 https://t.co/UIBct6fyMF
— CNBC Politics (@CNBCPolitics) June 20, 2023
This timeline sets an unusually swift pace considering the anticipated complexity of the trial, which is expected to involve extensive pretrial negotiations concerning highly sensitive classified information.
The Right to a Speedy Trial
The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution guarantees the right to a speedy trial, which serves as a safeguard against individuals being caught up unjustly in a convoluted legal system.
In reality, defense lawyers often prefer to have ample time to pore over documents, and prosecutors utilize this period to follow leads, delve deeper into their investigations, and unearth additional witnesses to strengthen their cases.
Under Cannon’s order dated Tuesday, federal prosecutors and Trump’s defense lawyers are required to submit motions in July and appear at the Miami-based district court’s satellite courthouse in Fort Pierce, Florida, on Aug. 8.
If the trial begins in August, it is likely that Trump would be forced to skip the first Republican debate, scheduled for Aug. 23 at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee.
And while that may seem like a bad thing for his campaign — and make for a very boring debate — it may be in the former president’s best interest.
A speedy trial would mean the proceedings could conclude before the 2024 race heats up, removing the risk of any negative distractions that could arise from an ongoing legal battle.
It would also remove speculation raised by his opponents about the possibility and repercussions of him being indicted.
Trump had already suggested that he might not attend the upcoming Republican primary debates, citing his commanding position in early polls and ongoing disputes with mainstream media organizations and GOP leadership as reasons for his potential decision.
Baier: You’ve suggested you may skip the early Republican primary debates, the first being August in Milwaukee. Are you still in that mindset?
Trump: Why would I let these people take shots at me? pic.twitter.com/JXnXit3oqR
— Republican Accountability (@AccountableGOP) June 20, 2023
If Trump had chosen to abstain from the debates, it would have deviated from the typical expectations for a presidential candidate and could have been subject to criticism from media pundits and opponents.
Now, with the conflicting trial date, the stars may have aligned for the former president, providing him with a potential advantage.
Of course, it’s possible that the trial will be delayed past Cannon’s announced date.
According to Politico, Cannon “typically sets trial dates six to eight weeks from the start of a case, only to allow weeks- or months-long delays as issues arise and the parties demand more time to prepare. While her order on Tuesday starts the clock on a slew of important pretrial matters in the Trump case, it’s not likely to resemble anything close to the timeframe that will ultimately govern the case.”
However, if the trial date holds, Trump could avoid the crowded and contentious early primary debates with a legitimate reason that few GOP voters could seriously fault.
And by having the trial resolved early, Trump can enter the campaign season without the distraction of ongoing legal proceedings, allowing him to focus his energy on what he does best — winning.
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