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Trump asks Florida judge for more time, seeks delay in New York hush-money case

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Attorneys for former President Donald Trump have asked the Florida judge overseeing his trial on charges he mishandled classified documents for extra time to meet court deadlines, citing travel and Trump’s busy schedule.

It’s at least the second time Trump’s defense team has cited the presumptive GOP nominee’s busy schedule when asking for court accommodations.

“President Trump and counsel are currently preparing for a trial in New York, New York that is scheduled to begin on March 25, 2024, and the need to simultaneously devote attention to that case and this matter has been necessitated in part by the discovery violations and strategic scheduling demands of the Special Counsel’s Office that have prejudiced President Trump in multiple respects,” attorneys Todd Blanche and Christopher Kise wrote in a motion filed Monday.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to 40 felony counts that allege he kept sensitive military documents, shared them with people who didn’t have security clearance, and tried to get around the government’s attempts to get them back.

In October 2023, Kise requested permission to appear in the Florida classified documents case by phone while defending Trump in a civil case in New York.

At the same time, Trump’s legal team has asked the judge in his New York hush-money case to push back the start date of that trial.

Trump’s New York state criminal case is set to begin with jury selection on March 25. In that case, Trump pleaded not guilty in April 2023 to 34 felony counts related to charges he paid hush money to adult film star Stormy Daniels through a lawyer before the 2016 presidential election and covered it up as a legal expense before being elected president.

Trump doesn’t want the New York criminal trial to begin until after the U.S. Supreme Court makes a decision on his claims of presidential immunity. Trump contends official actions he took as president give him broad immunity.

The presidential immunity claim has already put his other federal trial on hold.

The Supreme Court scheduled oral arguments on the presidential immunity claims during the week of April 22 – among the last oral arguments of the term. The nation’s highest court could hand down a decision in May, June or July. That means Trump’s federal criminal case in Washington D.C. will be paused until the Supreme Court makes a decision, potentially pushing back the start of that trial until summer or fall, depending on how much time Judge Tanya Chutkan allows for the defense once a ruling comes down.

On Monday, Trump asked a state judge to pause the hush-money case.

“President Trump respectfully submits that an adjournment of the trial is appropriate to await further guidance from the Supreme Court, which should facilitate the appropriate application of the presidential immunity doctrine in this case to the evidence the People intend to offer at trial,” his team wrote in a motion made to New York Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan.

“While the concept of presidential immunity is firmly established, the doctrine’s scope presents a ‘serious and unsettled question of law.’ Therefore, the Court should adjourn the trial until the Supreme Court resolves Trump v. United States for several reasons,” Trump’s legal team wrote. “Waiting to try the case until after the Supreme Court addresses the question before it – following oral argument just next month – will likely simplify the application of the defense to evidentiary issues raised by the People’s motions in limine.”

Meanwhile, Trump’s Georgia case has been sidetracked by questions about the relationship Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis had with an attorney she hired to prosecute the state’s election interference case against Trump. Defense attorneys want to have Willis and prosecutor Nathan Wade removed from the case over a personal relationship. Both Willis and Wade have said nothing improper happened and that the relationship started after Willis hired Wade to prosecute the case. Testimony from Terrence Bradley, Wade’s former law partner and divorce attorney, included Bradley stating that he couldn’t remember if he lied in the matter as he sought to avoid disbarment and other consequences. Judge Scott McAfee is set to make a decision on the possible removal of Willis and Wade.

In Georgia, Trump is accused of trying to steal the 2020 election. In August 2023, a Fulton County grand jury indicted Trump and 18 others, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former state Republican Party Chair David Shafer, on charges they tried to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in Georgia. Trump has pleaded not guilty.

Trump’s legal team has argued that presidents have broad immunity and could only be prosecuted if they had already been impeached and convicted by the Senate. Trump, impeached twice in the House, was never convicted in the Senate.

Prosecutors have alleged that Trump is trying to delay his trials. Special Counsel Jack Smith’s team of prosecutors argued in November 2023 that Trump is set on delaying his federal criminal trials “at any cost.”

Trump has said the criminal and civil cases he faces amount to election interference and were designed by Democrats to keep him out of the White House.

Trump’s claims of presidential immunity have already been rejected once.

A federal appeals court dealt Trump’s defense a major blow in February when it said he doesn’t have presidential immunity to protect him from charges of election interference in his Washington D.C. case.

“For the purpose of this criminal case, former President Trump has become citizen Trump, with all of the defenses of any other criminal defendant,” the three-judge panel wrote in a unanimous decision. “But any executive immunity that may have protected him while he served as President no longer protects him against this prosecution.”

Two of the judges were appointed by President Joe Biden – J. Michelle Childs and Florence Pan – and one, Karen LeCraft Henderson, by George H.W. Bush.