Trump Lawyers Seek Indefinite Postponement of Documents Trial

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The first discovery disclosure, they said, contained more than 833,450 pages of material, including about 122,650 emails and 305,670 other documents. The lawyers said that after subsequent troves of evidence were handed over, they would most likely make more requests to the government for further information.

They also pointed to the complex process of deciding how to handle the sensitive materials at the heart of the case under the Classified Information Procedures Act — the subject of the hearing that had been scheduled for Friday. The lawyers strongly hinted that they were going to fight the government during the pretrial litigation over classified material, a process that could take up significant amounts of time.

The filing by Mr. Trump’s legal team presents Judge Aileen M. Cannon, a Trump appointee, with a key early test.Credit…Southern District of Florida

“In general, the defendants believe there should simply be no ‘secret’ evidence, nor any facts concealed from public view relative to the prosecution of a leading presidential candidate by his political opponent,” the lawyers wrote. “Our democracy demands no less than full transparency.”

Aside from its request for a delay, the filing served as a preview of Mr. Trump’s legal strategy as the lawyers laid out ways in which they planned to attack his indictment.

They suggested, for example, that they intended to challenge some of the charges he is facing by arguing that the Presidential Records Act permitted Mr. Trump to take documents with him from the White House. That interpretation of the Watergate-era law is at odds with how legal experts interpret it and was not successful during an extended legal battle last year over an outside arbiter who was put in place to review a trove of materials seized by the F.B.I. from Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s private club and residence in Florida.

The former president’s lawyers also suggested that they might raise “constitutional and statutory challenges” to Mr. Smith’s authority as special counsel. Moreover, they laid the groundwork for questioning whether an impartial jury could be seated at the trial while Mr. Trump was running for office.

“There is simply no question any trial of this action during the pendency of a presidential election will impact both the outcome of that election,” they wrote, “and, importantly, the ability of the defendants to obtain a fair trial.”

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