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Famed Attorney Reveals One Move Trump Can Make To Thwart Documents Case

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Former President Donald Trump’s team can use one powerful legal weapon to neuter special prosecutor Jack Smith’s classified documents case against him, according to one veteran expert.

And if Team Trump decides to go that route, it would be “game over,” civil rights attorney Leo Terrell told Fox News host Mark Levin on Sunday.

That would be employing the Presidential Records Act, he noted.

The legislation dictates the procedures that presidents, beginning with Ronald Reagan, must follow when managing their official records and paperwork. In 2014, an amendment led by former Rep. Elijah Cummings D-Md., made updates to include the digital era and enhance transparency aspects of the act, Fox News noted.

The PRA places the responsibility for “custody and management of incumbent Presidential records with the President,” the National Archives note.

Terrell said that the act totally exonerates Trump, adding that it should lead to an “outright dismissal of these frivolous charges against Donald J. Trump.”

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“President Trump had the absolute right to declassify any and all documents in his custody, control and possession. There has been no response to that by the prosecution, Terrell said, according to Fox. “I’ll tell you why: Because they don’t have one.”

Invoking the act would be “game over” for Smith, Terrell noted. “That is, to me, the most important first motion President Trump’s legal team could file.”

He also said he believes the entire legal war against Trump is designed to block his path back to the White House.

“The leading Republican candidate, in my opinion, the next president of this country, is trying to be derailed by the prosecution, by Joe Biden, by [Attorney General] Merrick Garland, by [FBI Director] Christopher Wray and the Democratic machine… and the left-wing media,” he added.

Last week, Trump’s team filed a request with U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, whom Trump appointed, in southern Florida earlier this week, seeking an indefinite delay in the trial which resulted in 37 charges following an unprecedented FBI raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in August 2022.

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Smith’s team argued that Cannon “should not even consider” the request from Team Trump:

“Defendants’ claim that this Court could not select an impartial jury until after the presidential election does not justify further delay here. Resp. at 9. First and most importantly, there is no reason to credit the claim,” the Smith team argued.

“Our jury system relies on the Court’s authority to craft a thorough and effective jury selection process, and on prospective jurors’ ability and willingness to decide cases based on the evidence presented to them, guided by legal instructions from the Court,” the filing continued.

“To be sure, the Government readily acknowledges that jury selection here may merit additional protocols (such as a questionnaire) and may be more time-consuming than in other cases, but those are reasons to start the process sooner rather than later,” it added.

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Earlier in the week, Cannon turned down a request from special counsel Jack Smith’s team not to delay a preliminary hearing in the case involving both Trump and his valet Nauta that was initially scheduled for Friday.

Cannon agreed to reschedule the hearing until July 18, according to ABC News.

“Nauta’s attorney, Stanley Woodward, had requested the delay due to a timing conflict with a bench trial he has to attend as defense counsel for a defendant charged in the Justice Department’s investigation of the Jan. 6 Capitol attack,” the report said.

Jay Bratt, who is the lead federal prosecutor on Smith’s team, opposed the delay, arguing in his brief, “There is a strong public interest in the conference occurring as originally scheduled and the case proceeding as expeditiously as possible.”

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