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Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago classified documents case is delayed indefinitely by judge

A federal judge, appointed by Donald Trump when he was president, has delayed the start of the Mar-a-Lago classified documents trial.
Joe Raedle
Getty Images
A federal judge, appointed by Donald Trump when he was president, has delayed the start of the Mar-a-Lago classified documents trial.

The federal judge overseeing former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago classified documents trial has delayed the start of the case indefinitely.

Trump is charged with mishandling classified documents and then obstructing the government's attempts to retrieve those documents from his Palm Beach, Fla., club where he lives. Boxes of documents were taken from the White House in his final days in office and stored at Mar-a-Lago in easily accessible ballrooms, bathrooms and elsewhere on the sprawling estate.

Federal agents raided Mar-a-Lago in 2022 and seized dozens of classified and top secret documents. Trump and several of his associates were indicted in July 2023.

Judge Aileen Cannon, who was appointed to the federal bench when Trump was president, had originally set a trial start date of May 20. In a hearing on March 1, attorneys with special counsel Jack Smith's office urged Cannon not to delay the trial beyond July. Trump's legal team wanted the trial to start after the presidential election.

In a written order issued late Tuesday, Cannon said there are too many outstanding pre-trial motions and classified issues that need to be resolved — and said a trial date cannot be finalized. It is unlikely that the trial will now start before the November election.

Cannon did set a series of pre-trial motions through July 22nd.

A spokesman for special counsel Jack Smith declined comment to NPR's Ryan Lucas.

Smith's other case against Trump — in Washington, D.C., federal court about Trump's efforts to derail Joe Biden's 2020 election victory — is on hold. The U.S. Supreme Court is trying to determine if Trump should be criminally immune for actions he took while president.

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As NPR's Southern Bureau chief, Russell Lewis covers issues and people of the Southeast for NPR — from Florida to Virginia to Texas, including West Virginia, Kentucky, and Oklahoma. His work brings context and dimension to issues ranging from immigration, transportation, and oil and gas drilling for NPR listeners across the nation and around the world.