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Trump team, prosecutors battle over Mar-a-Lago court dates

Federal Judge Aileen Cannon declined to make a decision Tuesday on when to schedule the Mar-a-Lago case trial for former President Trump after his attorneys asked for an indefinite delay.

Trump’s legal team and Justice Department prosecutors met in the Florida courtroom for nearly two hours attempting to set a schedule in the case. 

Prosecutors have proposed that the trial begin in December, saying the case is not complex and there’s no need for a lengthy delay. Trump’s attorneys had argued they’d need ample time to sort through the classified documents while his schedule as a 2024 candidate would make the trial difficult.

Prosecutor David Harbach told the judge that Trump’s legal team has repeatedly suggested he should be treated differently because he’s running for president.

“He should be treated like everyone else,” Harbach said.

Seeking an indefinite delay was an unprecedented move by Trump’s attorneys, who during Tuesday’s conference suggested as an alternative that the trial be postponed until much closer to the election.

Attorney Todd Blanche said they would prefer “mid-November or later of next year” if the court decides to nail down a date, according to reporting from ABC News. 

For her part, Cannon, a Trump appointee, seemed skeptical of both a December trial date as well as the request to set no trial date at all, pledging to issue a decision “promptly.”

Trump and his co-defendant Walt Nauta, his valet, have pleaded not guilty to a 38-count indictment that accuses them of conspiring to hide classified documents from Justice Department investigators that were taken from the White House to Mar-a-Lago at the end of Trump’s time in office in January 2021.

Cannon also presided over a lawsuit that the Trump team filed last year over the August 2022 FBI search of Mar-a-Lago. Cannon drew criticism and second-guessing from legal experts for granting Trump’s request for a special master to conduct an independent review of the classified documents removed by the FBI from Mar-a-Lago.

A three-judge federal appeals court later overruled that order and said she had lacked the authority for such a ruling.

Meanwhile, Trump on Tuesday also said he received a letter from the Justice Department on Sunday notifying him that he is a target of its Jan. 6 inquiry, noting that could mean an imminent indictment in the matter.

The Associated Press contributed reporting.

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