Jack Smith bluntly criticizes Trump for attempting to delay Mar-a-Lago prosecution amidst upcoming NYC trial

Left: Former President Donald Trump, center, is seen sitting at the defense table at New York Supreme Court on December 7, 2023, in New York City. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez, Pool, File). On the right, Special Counsel Jack Smith can be seen speaking about the indictment of former President Donald Trump on August 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File).

In a pointed motion filed late Monday, Special Counsel Jack Smith strongly urged the federal judge overseeing the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case against former President Donald Trump to resist the defense’s latest attempts to prolong the proceedings.

On Monday morning, the defense attorney representing the 45th president requested an extension of two weeks to submit pretrial discovery motions to U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon. The reason cited for this request was Trump’s need to prepare for his upcoming hush-money trial in New York City, which is scheduled to commence later this month. In a separate motion filed on Monday, but dated March 7, the same defense attorney, Todd Blanche, sought to postpone the case against Trump in the Empire State until the U.S. Supreme Court delivers a ruling on the issue of presidential immunity, which is potentially implicated by some of the pretrial motions recently filed by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

The motion in opposition argues that it is unreasonable to grant an extension of time that exceeds twice the allotted time as per the Local Rule. It emphasizes that the briefing schedule has been established for months.

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Cannon had originally set a deadline of Thursday, March 14th, for submitting replies on all pending pretrial motions. Additionally, a hearing is scheduled for the same morning to address a few of the pretrial issues that have been causing significant delays in the case.

Trump’s attorneys, in their federal motion, stated that they have no intention of causing any unnecessary delay in the proceedings. They have requested an extension until March 24 to respond to specific motions filed by the government. The defense team is ready to file replies on motions to dismiss the indictment based on the Presidential Records Act and the Espionage Act one day prior to the March 14 hearing.

In the government’s opposition motion, Smith suggests that Trump is attempting a legal maneuver akin to the old army game.

The defense has chosen the last minute to raise concerns about needing extra time, despite having been aware of the circumstances throughout their motions. The motion points out that the trial date in New York has been set since 2022 and adds that Trump has also tried to postpone the trial in New York.

In his attempt to delay further in Florida, the former president also mentions the alleged difficulties faced by his co-defendants: Waltine Nauta, Trump’s longtime butler, and Carlos De Oliveira, Mar-a-Lago’s property manager.

The defendants, Nauta and De Oliveira, are currently examining the physical evidence in the possession of the Office, which could be significant for their reply submissions. In their request to extend the deadlines, they explain that Nauta is currently discussing with the Office the access to materials related to grand jury practices in the District of Columbia. These materials are relevant to Nauta’s reply in support of the pending motion on selective and vindictive prosecution.

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Smith completely disregards Nauta and De Oliveira’s concerns without any consideration.

The government counters that “[T]he evidence DeOliveira will inspect tomorrow has been available to them since the Government first provided them discovery.” They question Nauta’s explanation for how any inquiries about grand jury practice in the District of Columbia could impact his reply briefing and why he decided to seek this information only now.

In Trump’s filing on Monday, he also expressed his concern about the impact of traveling to Florida for the hearing on March 14. He stated that this travel would result in the defense losing valuable time that could have been used to prepare their other reply submissions.

Smith maintains that shifting the deadlines is not a valid basis.

The government’s motion argues that the need for the defense to travel to Florida for a hearing on Thursday is not exclusive to those teams and should not be a reason for delay. It firmly states that the defendants’ motion should be denied.

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