Jack Smith Gets ‘Ominous Sign’ From Judge Cannon, Trial Date May Be Delayed

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.


Special Counsel Jack Smith has had tough news in his cases against former President Donald Trump, and it has gotten even tougher for him.

CNN reporter Paula Reid said that Smith got an “ominous sign” from U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, who is on the Trump classified documents case.

“Right now, Donald Trump is inside a Florida courtroom for a crucial hearing,” CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer said on Friday to start a segment.

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“It could decide when the criminal case over his handling of classified documents goes to trial. The judge is set to determine whether it will move forward as planned in May or be delayed. Trump’s lawyers now say they would accept the trial in August. That’s three months before Election Day here in the United States. CNN’s chief legal affairs correspondent, Paula Reid, is outside the courthouse in Fort Pierce, Florida, for us. Paula, have you heard anything yet from inside the court?” Blitzer said before Reid began her report.

“Yes. Well, if we just got our first update, a handwritten note from inside the courthouse. We’re learning from our colleagues who are inside watching these proceedings that so far, the special counsel and Trump’s lawyers, they have been discussing this larger question of timing, such a consequential issue in this case, because we know the special counsel is keen to try this case as soon as possible,” she said.

“Trump’s lawyers want to delay it. Now, so far, the judge, Aileen Cannon, she has not signaled if she will definitely reschedule this trial or delay it. But she has given us some clues. Now, prosecutors apparently told her that they believe the one thing both parties agree on is that this can go this summer. Technically, that is true,” the reporter added.

“The special counsel said they’d like this to start on July 8th. Trump’s lawyers said that if it has to go, it could start on August 12th. But they also argue that their client should not be sitting in a federal courtroom when they believe he should be out campaigning. They believe this would be a violation of his First Amendment right,” said Reid.

“But in an ominous sign for prosecutors, we’re learning that Judge Cannon called some aspects of the government’s proposed schedule unrealistic, suggesting that she may delay this and may delay it further than the special counsel would like,” she said.

“But, Wolf, I want to talk about why I’m holding a handwritten note here right behind me in this federal courthouse. There is a proceeding of enormous national significance, questions about the former president allegedly mishandling classified documents and a judge. A federal judge is hearing arguments about when this trial will go, but the press is allowed to be in there and observe the proceedings. But they’re not allowed to transmit electronically as they are in most other courthouses. So we are relying on a team of reporters inside the courthouse right now, taking handwritten notes and then running down those stairs and across four lanes of traffic to bring us these updates. This is the first note we’ve gotten this morning, and hopefully, we’ll get some more notes soon,” she concluded.

The hearing for Smith and the Trump attorneys came days after the U.S. Supreme Court said it would take the case for presidential immunity.

The former president has argued that he cannot be prosecuted for things that he did in an official capacity as President, but Smith has maintained that what the former President did was not within his scope as president.

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Smith had originally asked the Supreme Court to take the case sans going to the appeals court, but the Supreme Court instructed him to go to the appeals court first.

After the Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Smith, the Trump team appealed to the Supreme Court, which took the case and scheduled a hearing for April.

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