Cannon Suspends Key Mar-a-Lago Deadline

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    Marine One lifts-off after returning President Donald J. Trump to Mar-a-Lago Friday, March 29, 2019, following his visit to the 143-mile Herbert Hoover Dike near Canal Point, Fla., that surrounds Lake Okeechobee. The visit was part of an infrastructure inspection of the dike, which is part of the Kissimmee-Okeechobee Everglades system, and reduces impacts of flooding for areas of south Florida. (Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian) [Photo Credit: The White House from Washington, DC, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons]

    Judge Aileen Cannon suspended a key deadline in former President Trump’s documents case after his attorneys suggested that special counsel Jack Smith’s team had “failed to preserve critical evidence” in the case after prosecutors disclosed some classified records may not be in the original order in which they were found.

    The Hill reports:

    In a Saturday letter posted to the court docket Tuesday morning, Trump’s legal team pounces on the admission by Smith’s team that the order in which the documents were found may have shifted slightly.

    “Your failure to disclose the spoliation of this evidence until this month is an extraordinary breach of your constitutional and ethical obligations, Trump attorney Todd Blanche wrote.

    The letter lays out a series of demands for more information, including on the instructions given to those who initially searched the boxes, all communications surrounding the searches of the boxes and their movements, and a list of personnel who had access to them. 

    “If the investigative team found a document with classification markings, it removed the document, segregated it, and replaced it with a placeholder sheet. The investigative team used classified cover sheets for that purpose, until the FBI ran out because there were so many classified documents, at which point the team began using blank sheets with handwritten notes indicating the classification level of the document(s) seized,” prosecutors noted.

    Trump’s team in their letter shot back at Smith’s efforts to dismiss the issue, saying it has repercussions beyond what classified information might be presented at trial.

    “You cannot seriously contend that your recent spoliation concession is irrelevant to President Trump’s pending pretrial motions,” Blanche wrote.

    The suspension marks yet another delay in a prosecution where Cannon has yet to even set a new trial date, casting further doubt on the chances the case will come before a jury ahead of the election.

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