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Jack Smith’s Team Admits To Tampering With Evidence, Misleading Judge In Trump Classified Docs Case

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


Special counsel Jack Smith’s prosecutors have committed a “serious violation” in their classified documents case against former President Donald Trump, according to legal experts who have examined the team’s latest filings with U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon.

According to Just the News, in filings, Smith’s prosecutors have admitted to tampering with evidence obtained from an August 2023 FBI raid at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate and misleading Cannon for a period of time about certain aspects of the evidence and findings.

“Legal experts told Just the News the revelation could prove to be a serious problem for prosecutors and a violation of court rules to preserve evidence in the state it was seized,” the outlet reported.

According to a filing by Smith’s team on Friday, the order of documents in some of the boxes of memos that were seized by the FBI from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate had been altered or jumbled, resulting in two different chronologies – one that was digitally scanned and another that followed the physical order in the boxes.

“Since the boxes were seized and stored, appropriate personnel have had access to the boxes for several reasons, including to comply with orders issued by this Court in the civil proceedings noted above, for investigative purposes, and to facilitate the defendants’ review of the boxes,” Smith’s team wrote in the filing with Cannon’s court.

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“There are some boxes where the order of items within that box is not the same as in the associated scans,” the prosecutors wrote.

In a footnote, Smith’s team also acknowledged misleading the court by previously stating that the evidence had remained in the same state as when it was seized.

“The Government acknowledges that this is inconsistent with what Government counsel previously understood and represented to the Court,” the footnote said.

Just the News added:

The organization of the documents in storage boxes at Mar-a-Lago is likely to be an important part of Trump‘s defense. His team is expected to argue the documents were stored in the White House in chronological order on the days that Trump received them, and that staff simply boxed them up and sent them to his home without him accessing them or knowing they contained classified information. 

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Smith’s team tried to downplay the problem and argued it’s not a reason for a delay in Trump’s case.

However, a number of legal experts told the outlet that the tampering and misleading the judge may very well prove to be problematic for Smith’s team.

“Prosecutors and investigators should never tamper with or alter evidence in their possession, including the order of documents in a box, because one never knows what may become relevant or crucial to a court or jury later in a case,” Harvard Law Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz told the outlet.

Defense attorney Tim Parlatore, who worked on Trump’s team earlier in the classified documents case but is no longer involved, said,” This admission is stunning on multiple levels.”

He said the revelation “reinforces the incompetence” of Smith’s prosecutors “in conducting basic criminal investigations and prosecutions that I observed when I was on the team.”

“But at a deeper level, the loss of specific document locations is a destruction of exculpatory evidence,” he told Just the News. “I went through all of the boxes at NARA, and the document order was important because it was clear to us that the boxes had been untouched since leaving the White House.

“For prosecutors who are trying to prove that the defendants knowingly possessed these documents to then destroy the evidence that would undermine that claim is a very serious violation,” he added.

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