Trump lawyers want hearing on election case protective order delayed

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Former president Donald Trump arrives at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, after appearing at the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse, Aug. 3, 2023.

Tom Brenner | The Washington Post | Getty Images

Lawyers for former President Donald Trump told a judge they want a hearing for a protective order sought by prosecutors in his criminal election case delayed until next week, despite the judge asking both sides to offer her dates on or before Friday.

Prosecutors from the office of special counsel Jack Smith, in turn, told U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan they are available for the hearing Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.

The options were laid out in a joint filing Tuesday by prosecutors and Trump’s lawyers in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., where the ex-president is charged with four felonies related to his bid to reverse his loss in the 2020 election to President Joe Biden. The protective order sought by Smith would bar Trump from publicly revealing some evidence collected during the criminal investigation.

The joint notice filed Tuesday said that Trump wants both of his lawyers, John Lauro and Todd Blanche, to be present for the hearing.

“Todd Blanche is not available on Thursday, since he must appear for a court proceeding in the prosecution brought against the same defendant, President Trump, by the Special Counsel” in federal court for the Southern District of Florida, the filing said.

“Mr. Lauro is available on Thursday, with a preference for an afternoon setting,” the filing said.

“However, since we lost Friday as an option, we would respectfully request a setting on Monday (after 12:00 p.m.) or Tuesday (all day) to allow for both Mr. Blanche and Mr. Lauro to be present.”

It was not stated in the notice, or clear from other sources, why Friday is not “an option” for Trump’s lawyers, or why they cannot meet Wednesday.

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Trump has a decades-old history of trying to drag out and complicate legal proceedings through procedural tactics and appeals. His camp has already shown a tendency to apply that strategy to his newest case.

Trump on Sunday said he wants to have the case transferred out of the District of Columbia, and Chutkan off the bench.

“THERE IS NO WAY I CAN GET A FAIR TRIAL WITH THE JUDGE ‘ASSIGNED,'” he wrote in a social media post that day.

Chutkan a day earlier had denied a bid by Lauro to delay a deadline for replying to the protective order request.

The other criminal case in Florida lodged by Smith accuses Trump of retaining hundreds of classified government records after he left the White House, taking steps to hide them from federal officials and trying to destroy video evidence showing the documents being moved around his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach.

Trump has pleaded not guilty in both federal criminal cases.

He separately is criminally charged in New York state court in Manhattan with falsifying business records in connection with a 2016 hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.

Read More: Trump lawyers want hearing on election case protective order delayed

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