Former President Donald Trump’s legal team scored a small victory in the federal еlеction obstruction case when U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan granted them extra time to file motions. The case, brought by special counsel Jack Smith, alleges that Trump attempted to obstruct the 2020 presidential еlеction. In her order issued on October 6, Judge Chutkan partially granted the request for additional time, allowing for a two-week extension to file pre-trial court motions.
In court papers filed last week, Trump’s attorneys argued that they needed more time to review classified evidence and craft arguments for the case. They claimed that several members of the legal team did not have the appropriate security clearances to review the evidence thoroughly. Responding to the motion, federal prosecutors accused Trump’s team of attempting to delay the proceedings and argued that the amount of classified materials in the case was relatively small. Nevertheless, the judge granted the two-week extension, giving the defense until October 23 to file motions, including a motion to dismiss the case.
While granting additional time for motions, Judge Chutkan rejected Trump’s request to order a declassified version of the government’s court filings regarding classified evidence. In her order, the judge stated that lengthy extensions for dispositive motions, such as motions to dismiss, were not warranted. She emphasized that granting the requested sixty-day extension would delay the full briefing until January 2024. Despite this denial, the judge did grant a request from Trump’s legal team to file objections regarding classified evidence in the case.
President Trump, who has pleaded not guilty to the charges, faces four federal felonies related to allegations of obstructing the 2020 presidential еlеction. His legal team argues that the charges are part of a longstanding effort by Democrats and federal bureaucrats to undermine his 2024 presidential campaign. The motion to dismiss the case, citing immunity, has not yet been ruled on by Judge Chutkan. The special counsel lawyers have not responded to the dismissal motion either.
Last month, Trump’s legal team requested that Judge Chutkan recuse herself from the case, claiming that her public comments made during the sentencing of individuals involved in the January 6, 2021, breach at the U.S. Capitol suggested bias against the former president. However, Judge Chutkan, an Obama appointee, reviewed the motion and determined that there was no basis for her recusal. She stated that her public comments did not demonstrate a deep-seated prejudice that would compromise her ability to make a fair judgment in the case.
In addition to the federal еlеction obstruction case, President Trump faces trials in Georgia, New York City, and Florida. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges. The next court hearing for the federal case is scheduled for October 16.