Lawyers for former President Donald J. Trump lashed out at the special counsel, Jack Smith, on Wednesday, accusing his office of violating Mr. Trump’s due process rights by seeking to obtain a guilty verdict against him before Election Day in the two federal cases he is facing “no matter the cost.”
The lacerating comments were contained in court papers in which the lawyers reasserted their request to delay, until after the 2024 election, Mr. Trump’s trial in Florida on charges of mishandling classified documents.
In some of the strongest language he has used so far, Christopher M. Kise, a lawyer for Mr. Trump, assailed the special counsel’s office for opposing his attempts to delay the documents trial. Mr. Kise said in the filing that the proceeding, which is set to start in May, could conflict with Mr. Trump’s other federal trial. In that trial, which is scheduled to begin in March in Washington, the former president stands accused of three conspiracies to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
Mr. Kise all but asserted that the twin prosecutions had been filed against Mr. Trump in an effort to cripple his chances of being re-elected.
“The fact that they continue to contend that it is appropriate and not a violation of President Trump’s due process rights to push forward with back-to-back multi-month trials in different districts with wholly different facts — over a defendant’s objection — reveals a central truth about these cases,” Mr. Kise wrote. “The special counsel’s office is engaged in a reckless effort to try to obtain a conviction of President Trump prior to the 2024 election, no matter the cost.”
The filing was the third round of dueling court papers concerning the request to delay the documents trial — a strategy that Mr. Trump has pursued almost from the moment he was first indicted in the case.
The indictment, filed in June, accused the former president of illegally holding on to more than 30 classified documents after he left office and then conspiring with aides at Mar-a-Lago, his private club and residence in Florida, to obstruct the government’s repeated efforts to reclaim them.
Last week, Mr. Trump’s legal team sought to dismiss the indictment in the election interference case by arguing that Mr. Trump enjoyed absolute immunity against any criminal charges related to his official duties as president.
On Tuesday, prosecutors asked Judge Tanya S. Chutkan, who is overseeing that case, for a formal order that would force Mr. Trump to tell them whether he intends to defend himself by blaming the stable of lawyers around him at the time for giving him poor legal advice.
And early next week, Mr. Trump’s lawyers will square off against Mr. Smith’s prosecutors before Judge Chutkan at a hearing to decide whether she will impose a gag order on Mr. Trump to restrict his public comments about people involved in the election interference case.