Judge Pushes Back Critical Filing Deadline in Trump Documents Case

Reversing one of her own decisions, the federal judge overseeing former President Donald J. Trump’s classified documents case granted his request on Monday to postpone the deadline for a crucial court filing in the criminal proceeding, increasing the chance that any trial would be pushed past the November election.

The ruling by the judge, Aileen M. Cannon, was made in a bare-bones order that contained no factual or legal reasoning. It did not schedule a new deadline but erased the one she had set almost a month ago ordering Mr. Trump’s lawyers to file by Thursday a detailed list of the classified materials that they intend to introduce at the trial, which is set to take place at some point in Federal District Court in Fort Pierce, Fla.

That list is enormously consequential because, when filed, it will mark the first step in what will ultimately be a pitched battle between the defense and prosecution over what sorts of classified materials the jury will get to hear about at trial — a contested process, balancing issues of public access and national security, that could take months to complete.

Mr. Trump has relentlessly pursued a strategy of delaying all four of the criminal cases he is facing, and if he succeeds in delaying his trial on charges of mishandling classified documents until after the election, he could order his Justice Department to drop the matter altogether if he wins.

Judge Cannon’s postponement of the filing deadline was merely the latest example of her acceding to Mr. Trump’s attempts to delay the classified documents trial. Even though she held a hearing in Fort Pierce on March 1 specifically to change the current May 20 start of the trial, she has not yet selected a new date.

And she has failed to make any decisions on several important motions, which has resulted in further delays.

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