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Donald Trump, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, special counsel Jack Smith

Mar-a-Lago judge reshuffles schedules, indefinitely delaying key hearing where Jack Smith faces allegations of colluding with Biden admin and ‘prosecutorial misconduct’

Left: Donald Trump (AP Photo/Mike Stewart), File); Center: U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon (U.S. Senate); Right: Special counsel Jack Smith (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

The judge overseeing Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago documents case has indefinitely delayed a key hearing in the case – a move that will only further push back the already long-running pretrial process.

On Wednesday afternoon, in an order in anticipation of June 2024 hearings, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon laid most of the blame for the re-scheduling order on special counsel Jack Smith, recently filing a motion requesting a gag order be issued against the 45th president. Additionally, the court said the rescheduling would help deal with one of Trump’s motions that was filed all the way back in March.

Now, a three-day hearing previously scheduled for June 24-26 has been canceled. The judge did not provide a timeline for when the hearing will occur, only noting it will “be reset by subsequent Order.”

Related Coverage:

    The scuttled hearing in question was related to a defense motion to compel a vast amount of discovery materials premised on allegations of a political vendetta waged against Trump by the Biden administration — in the form of the Mar-a-Lago case itself.

    “The Special Counsel’s Office has disregarded basic discovery obligations and DOJ policies in an effort to support the Biden Administration’s egregious efforts to weaponize the criminal justice system in pursuit of an objective that President Biden cannot achieve on the campaign trail: slowing down President Trump’s leading campaign in the 2024 presidential election,” the motion alleges.

    The schedules and timelines in the case have seen considerable shifts throughout the pendency of the proceedings — this year in particular.

    As Law&Crime previously reported, that multi-day hearing was supposed to be something of an omnibus. Cannon previously said the three-day hearing would cover arguments on two specific issues: (1) whether Smith was properly hired to prosecute Trump under the appointments clause – and properly funded under the appropriations clause – of the U.S. Constitution; and (2) Trump’s motion to dismiss the case on a theory of selective and vindictive prosecution.

    More Law&Crime coverage: Mar-a-Lago judge allows former Scalia clerk, law professor, and attorney for anti-Trump coalition to argue in court over Jack Smith’s power to prosecute

    Then, Cannon reset the appointments and appropriations issues – setting them for June 21. But that plan was not long for this Earth.

    The judge has now split up the appointments and appropriations issues into two different hearings for the two different clauses.

    The appointments clause hearing retains the June 21 date – with the court expecting arguments to last “for the duration of the day.”

    “The Court anticipates starting with argument from counsel for the parties; proceeding to hear argument from amici and rebuttal from the parties as necessary; and then accommodating any presentation of evidence, if deemed necessary by the Court, following review of the supplemental briefs on the need for further factual development,” the latest order reads.

    Now, the appropriations issue will be discussed during a 10 a.m. hearing on June 24. That hearing will be followed by a 3 p.m. hearing on Smith’s motion to modify the conditions of Trump’s pretrial release by instituting a gag order. The next day, on June 25, the court will hold a hearing on Trump’s Fourth Amendment motion for relief related to the Mar-a-Lago raid and attorney-client privilege issues.

    More Law&Crime coverage: Constitutional lawyers ask Judge Cannon to let them back special counsel Jack Smith’s authority to prosecute Trump at upcoming hearing

    The now-kiboshed discovery dispute, if settled in Trump’s favor, would likely entail a significant strain on the prosecution — and almost certainly lead to ever more delays. Smith’s office has bristled at those requests and allegation as “baseless” and beyond the pale.

    The defense alleges the Biden administration “collude[d] in bad faith” with NARA, the DOJ, and the FBI as part of a “politically motivated” setup ahead of the 2024 election to “improperly target” Trump and violate his “constitutional rights by using civil authorities to collect evidence for use in a criminal prosecution” over the seized documents.

    Trump wants each of those entities and government agencies to count as part of the formal prosecution team.

    In other words, for the purposes of discovery, the defense has lumped the White House and NARA into the “prosecution team.” In turn, defense attorneys have also accused those selfsame groups, loosely defined, of delaying the Mar-a-Lago indictment to ensure Trump’s 2024 election campaign and reelection chances would be hampered.

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    The post Mar-a-Lago judge reshuffles schedules, indefinitely delaying key hearing where Jack Smith faces allegations of colluding with Biden admin and ‘prosecutorial misconduct’ first appeared on Law & Crime.