Judge removes Trump documents case from the calendar

 May 14, 2024

Democrats are throwing up their hands after the judge in Donald Trump's classified documents case removed the trial from the calendar, all but ensuring that it will not happen before the 2024 election. 

It's a victory for Trump and his strategy of delay. Prosecutor Jack Smith has furiously pushed for a pre-election trial date, without saying so directly.

Judge Aileen Cannon's refusal to adhere to Smith's political timeline has infuriated Democrats, who accuse her, without evidence, of tipping the scales in Trump's favor.

Trump case thrown out?

In a brief ruling, Judge Cannon vacated a May 20 trial date and said that unresolved issues in the case - which she noted raises "novel and difficult questions" - made rescheduling it impractical.

The ruling appears to dash Smith's hopes for a trial in July, if it happens before the election at all.

In short, Cannon said that rushing the case would undermine Trump's right to due process and the "public’s interest in the fair and efficient administration of justice."

The "finalization of a trial date at this juncture ... would be imprudent and inconsistent with the Court's duty to fully and fairly consider the various pending pre-trial motions before the Court," she wrote.

Smith has admitted that the documents are no longer in their original order, which raises concerns that exculpatory evidence may have been destroyed.

Delays frustrate Democrats

Despite the complexity of the case - to say nothing of Smith's admitted evidence tampering - Democrats are furious over Cannon's ruling, which they claim is politically motivated.

"It is hard for me not to reach the conclusion that this [judge] is deliberately slow-walking the case to put it into a position where, should [Trump] be elected, he can order that the investigation and prosecution be terminated,” Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Ri.) said.

Three out of Trump's four criminal trials now appear to be stalled indefinitely, with the sole exception of his "hush money" trial in New York.

Smith's other Trump prosecution, which deals with January 6th, is stalled pending a Supreme Court ruling on presidential immunity.

Trump's Georgia election case, already hanging by a thread thanks to prosecutor Fani Willis' indiscretions, is also in limbo after an appeals court agreed to review whether Willis should be disqualified.

Willis admitted to an affair with a prosecutor she hired, who has since resigned. A lower court allowed Willis to stay on the case, despite an "appearance of impropriety."

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