Jack Smith is advancing in parallel in the investigation of attempting to hold onto power through lists of false voters. Celebrating the trial of former President Donald Trump for classified papers from Mar-a-Lago starting on August 14 is not a realistic goal, according to Jack Smith, the special prosecutor in charge of the case. Smith has asked Judge Aileen Cannon, who is overseeing the case, to postpone the trial until December. In his opinion, the necessary proceedings before the trial commences will take several months.
The prosecutor made his request to the judge along with other motions. He is requesting that the trial be scheduled for December 11, mainly because some of the evidence is classified documents that require special permission to access. The accreditation process takes time, which the prosecutor estimates to be between 45 and 60 days. This alone would practically consume the time frame set by the judge, leaving no time to address other preliminary issues.
The August 14 date was already merely indicative. Judge Cannon, appointed by Trump himself, tends to aggressively set a date and then postpone it as necessary. If the trial is postponed, it will take place closer to the Republican Party's primary elections for the 2024 presidential election. Trump is the favorite to win his party's nomination, and the primaries concentrate in the first quarter of next year.
The prosecutor has charged Trump with 37 counts, including 31 for the illegal retention of sensitive documents for national defense, and others for obstruction of justice, conspiracy, and falsehood.
Along with the request to delay the trial, prosecutor Smith asks the judge to establish rules regarding the classified evidence, i.e., how it can be admitted and used in the trial and what access can be given to Trump's lawyers. Some of the documents deal with military capabilities, including nuclear capabilities, of third countries, others with U.S. operations, and one with the U.S. nuclear arsenal itself, according to the brief description included in the charges. Their exact content, however, is unknown. The prosecutor also requests that the list of witnesses with whom he seeks to prohibit Donald Trump from speaking, except through his lawyers, be kept confidential.
On the other hand, if the trial for the Mar-a-Lago papers is postponed, there will no longer be a risk of the date overlapping with a possible new indictment of Trump in Atlanta for electoral interference in the 2020 presidential election in the state of Georgia. In what seemed like a pre-announcement of a possible indictment, Fani Willis, the Fulton County prosecutor, sent a letter last month to the chief judge of the county superior court indicating that she plans for much of her staff to work remotely most days during the first three weeks of August and requesting that judges not schedule in-person trials and hearings during part of that time.
In parallel, special prosecutor Smith continues to investigate Trump's attempts to cling to power and prevent the certification of Joe Biden's clear victory in the 2020 presidential election, in which the former president lost by a margin of seven million popular votes and was defeated by 306 to 232 delegates or electoral votes.
Smith is investigating Trump's attempts to create groups of delegates who would support him and represent states in which he had lost the elections by a smaller margin, such as Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, and Nevada, displacing legitimately elected ones. Local press has revealed that the prosecutor's office is in contact with Michael Roman, one of the responsible for Trump's 2020 campaign, to testify voluntarily in the case, possibly in exchange for partial immunity.
The prosecutor has already submitted evidence and testimony to the grand jury about the plan to create these lists of false voters to subvert the electoral outcome to prevent Congress from certifying Biden's victory on January 6, 2021, and thus block the transfer of power. Trump's refusal to accept his clear defeat is at the origin of the attack on the Capitol that day.
The House of Representatives committee that investigated the Capitol attack recommended that Trump be tried for four crimes: incitement to insurrection, conspiracy to make false statements and defraud the United States, and obstruction of an official Congressional proceeding, the vote to certify Biden's victory.
The FBI has been investigating the false voter lists plan for over a year. As part of the judicial investigation, people very close to Trump, including his vice president, Mike Pence; his chief of staff, Mark Meadows; and the former White House legal counsel, Pat Cipollone, have been interrogated before the grand jury. Pence managed to avoid testifying about his actions on the day of the Capitol attack. When summoned, he argued that on January 6, he was acting as president of the Senate and that forcing him to testify violated the so-called "speech or debate clau