Trump’s Legal Team Asks for August Start Date in Mar-a-Lago Documents Trial in Surprise Move

AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

In a surprise move, former President Donald Trump’s legal team has asked a Florida judge to start the trial for his federal classified documents case before the 2024 election. The request came on the heels of Special Prosecutor Jack Smith asking for the trial to begin July 8.

On Friday’s show, Megyn was joined by Jesse Kelly, host of TheFirst TV’s I’m Right, to discuss why Trump might want the case to start sooner than later.

The Request

After months of seeking to have proceedings postponed until after the 2024 election, Trump’s defense team filed court papers Thursday evening that suggested a new date for the start of the trial of the federal classified documents case. The documents proposed August 12, three months before Election Day and one month after the Republican National Convention.

The summer date followed a request from Smith to have the trial start July 8. Originally, U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon had scheduled the trial to begin on May 20, but it was widely expected to be pushed back.

There are, at a minimum, procedural reasons why the trial would be held up. “It has been nicely delayed for Trump because they’re going through who needs which security clearance even on the defense lawyers team,” Megyn explained. “Even Trump may not be able to see the documents that they say he unlawfully hoarded because he no longer has the security clearance.”

Those clearances won’t be granted overnight, which is why Megyn “still don’t think that case gets tried anywhere before November.” Even so, she found the filing interesting. “The prosecutors sent a letter to Judge Cannon proposing the trial start July 8, and Trump’s lawyers made what The New York Times called an ‘abrupt turnabout’ – and I agree with that characterization – saying not July but one month later in August.”

Why the Change?

Megyn admitted that she was initially confused by the request. “I was asking myself why on earth he would be asking for an August trial date in the case that, legally, is the best against him,” she shared. “The Mar-a-Lago documents case for all the stuff he did after he got the subpoena is the strongest legally.”

But there may be political motivations at play. “And the speculation is that he’d much rather get that case – which will take months to try – going to block the January 6 federal case from going at all prior to November,” she explained. “It seems like the Trump team sees real legal peril or maybe just political peril in that January 6 trial starting, and they won’t start one trial while another one is going.”

Kelly agreed that the January 6 case, which will be tried in Washington, DC, poses a big threat to the 2024 GOP frontrunner. “Legally, that may be the savvy move because, when it comes to the January 6 trial in Washington, DC, Trump is screwed,” he said. “January 6 prisoners have been convicted in that exact same area 100 percent of the time,” he explained. “He is not walking out of that trial without being convicted. So if they’re trying to avoid that before the election, that’s good.”

The Hearing

Judge Cannon heard arguments over when the trial should begin on Friday. There were no cameras in the courtroom, but CNN legal correspondent Paula Reid posted on X that the judge “did not set a trial date” but “suggested Special Counsel’s suggested start date of July 8th is ‘unreasonable.'”

Additionally, Reid tweeted that Smith argued the Department of Justice policy “discouraging public investigative actions 60 days before an election” does not apply to setting a trial date in cases that have already been charged. He reportedly told Judge Cannon that “we’re in full compliance” with that policy.”

Given the lingering fallout from former FBI Director James Comey’s disclosures about Hillary Clinton’s email servers in the lead up to the 2016 election, Megyn said that reasoning from Smith is telling. “They’re full speed ahead. They don’t give a sh-t that we’re going to have the presidency on the line on November 5,” she concluded. “In fact, they do care, and they’re actively trying to influence it.”

You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Kelly by tuning in to episode 735 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.