Judge Cannon doubtful that Jack Smith's timeline for documents case is realistic

 March 5, 2024

Florida Federal Judge Eileen Cannon expressed doubts about the feasibility of Special Prosecutor Jack Smith's July timeline for the classified documents case against former President Donald Trump during a hearing in the case on Friday.

Cannon didn't say the case couldn't begin in July, but was concerned that a Manhattan hush money trial scheduled for March could take away a lot of time for his legal team to prepare for the documents case.

The documents trial is still officially scheduled for May, but it's all but certain that the case will be postponed--the only question is how much.

A trial in close proximity to the 2024 presidential election could constitute election interference, so if the delay goes beyond July, it will likely be put off until after November, when President-Elect Trump could take steps to dismiss the case or even pardon himself.

Pushing for July

Smith is pushing for a July 8 trial date because he is desperate to get a conviction against Trump before the election.

“A lot of work needs to be done in the pretrial phase of this case,” Cannon said during the Friday hearing, which Trump attended.

The timeline requested by Smith would compress large numbers of pretrial motions into only a few days, another reason for Cannon's skepticism.

“To try to do 13 motions in a day or even two days seems unrealistic,” she said.

Dragging her feet?

Cannon also bristled at a top Smith prosecutor's suggestion that she was dragging her feet.

“I can assure you that, in the building, there’s a good deal of judicial work going on,” Cannon said.

She questioned whether the Justice Department had rules about a trial so close to the election, but Smith's team quickly assured her that no such rules applied to the case.

There's nothing Smith would like better than to be litigating this case in September or October, as many voters begin to make up their minds about which candidate to vote for.

One of Trump's lawyers suggested an August date, but prosecutors argued that it was a "fake date" and that Trump's team would later seek more delays and ultimately try to delay it until after the election.

Cannon was wary of infringing on Trump's rights, however, so we'll see how it plays out.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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