Former Watergate prosecutor Jon Sale said on Saturday that former President Donald Trump‘s recent motion to delay his classified documents trial indefinitely is “illegal” of the Speedy Trial Act.
The former president is currently facing a litany of federal criminal charges stemming from his alleged retention of classified documents that were found last August at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida after leaving the White House. According to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and special counsel Jack Smith, Trump willfully retained documents containing sensitive or classified national security information. Trump has pleaded not guilty in the case after being indicted, proclaiming his innocence as he has done in all the legal battles that he is currently facing.
The case is set to proceed in Florida under U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump-appointee who previously made rulings related to the case that were deemed unlawful and beneficial to the former president. She initially set a trial date for August, but a request from the DOJ later pushed the date to December 11. Trump’s legal team then requested that the trial be postponed indefinitely until after the 2024 presidential election, in which he is the leading candidate for the Republican nomination.
Trump’s legal team cited potential troubles with seating “an impartial jury” before the election and claimed that Trump would expend a “tremendous amount of time and energy” in carrying out his latest presidential bid. Meanwhile, detractors have countered that Trump hopes that he will be able to have the case dismissed entirely if he is reelected president next year.
Speaking with MSNBC‘s Katie Phang on Saturday, Sale, a preeminent white-collar criminal defense attorney and former assistant special prosecutor, said that the “whole world is watching” for what will happen at a hearing in the case on Tuesday and argued why the request from Trump’s team should not be granted.
“Trump’s motion to put off the trial indefinitely is illegal, per se,” Sale said, who also represented Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City, during Trump’s first impeachment trial. “Under our Speedy Trial Act, the court has to set a date for the trial, and if it’s beyond 70 days, which it almost always is, the court has to make a finding that it’s in the interest of justice to exclude certain time from that calculation.”
On Thursday, the DOJ submitted its own filing in which it contested the request from the Trump team, arguing that it has “no basis in law or fact.” It also dismissed the worries about seating a jury, saying that “there is no reason to credit the claim” about the difficulty of finding impartial jurors, and that the “challenge to select a jury will not appreciably change after the completion of the election.”
Newsweek reached out to representatives for Trump via email for comment.
Source : Newsweek