Legal experts say to expect a 'lengthy' trial in President Trump's classified documents case despite Jack Smith saying it will be 'speedy'

The length of the trial could be a further challenge for President Trump and has the potential to interfere with his 2024 presidential election campaign.

Katie Daviscourt Seattle WA
President Donald Trump's criminal case involving alleged mishandling of classified documents could result in a lengthy trial despite US Special Counsel Jack Smith's recent remarks indicating that it would be "speedy." 

On Wednesday, President Trump plead not guilty to all 37 charges regarding the Department of Justice's indictment over the alleged mishandling of classified documents that were found at Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence in August. The investigation into the classified documents was spearheaded by Biden's Special Counsel Jack Smith who gloated during a press brief that the trial "will be speedy" as the DOJ has "one set of laws in this country" and that "they apply to everyone."

However, legal experts told Reuters that the trial could take longer than one year due to the degree that Trump's legal team challenges pre-trial motions. 

Stephanie Siegmann, the former chief of national security at the US Attorney's Office in Boston, explained that just the process in which evidence is shared with Trump's legal team, known as discovery, could take more than one year.

Siegmann, who now partners with the law firm Hinkley Allen, told the outlet, "In every case that I had involving classified information, we never had a speedy trial."

The legal expert explained that the courts will classify President Trump's criminal case as "complex" because "it involves classified information."

The length of the trial could be a further challenge for President Trump and has the potential to interfere with his 2024 presidential election campaign. President Trump has already called the indictment "election interference" and insisted that President Biden weaponized the Department of Justice to target his top political rival.

Following Trump's court hearing, both parties and the court are bound by the Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA), which is a set of strict and meticulous rules put in place to protect classified records and how they are disclosed, according to Reuters.

Attorney Kel McClanahan told the outlet that, "CIPA has so many different steps, that each one just by virtue of the fact it's a step takes an uncertain amount of time."

In order to view the evidence, President Trump's defense team will have to obtain special security clearances due to CIPA laws.

Trump was arraigned on the 37 charges on Tuesday afternoon, which include 31 counts of willful retention of national defense information, one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, one count of withholding a document or record, one count of corruptly concealing a document or record, one count of concealing a document in a federal investigation, one count of scheme to conceal, and one count of false statements and representations.

President Trump plead not guilty to all charges lobbied against him.

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