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Legal Expert Says Jack Smith Should Be ‘Very Worried’ About Trump Docs Case

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


CNN legal analyst Elie Honig had some bad news for special counsel Jack Smith following a ruling made by U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon in his classified documents case against former President Donald Trump.

During a segment on the network this month, Smith made his comments following a three-page order issued by Cannon, who has faced mounting criticism from the left regarding her management of the case.

In part, the order reprimanded Smith in response to a recent filing as she also denied Trump’s request to have the case dismissed on grounds that he should be protected by the Presidential Records Act.

Per the Washington Post:

Even as she ruled against Trump’s motion, Cannon’s three-page order also revealed her displeasure over Smith’s characterization of her order, suggesting this may not be the last such battle in the historic prosecution of a former president and the presumptive GOP presidential candidate.

CNN host Brianna Keilar asked Honig, “Where does this leave the timeline of this case, Elie?”

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“Well, a mess, in short,” he responded. “No way that this case was gonna get tried before the election. And now, I think we have other pending issues.”

Honig pointed out that some legal experts are suggesting that Smith could appeal to the 11th Circuit to request Cannon’s dismissal from the case. In the past, the 11th Circuit has overturned two rulings made by Cannon that were favorable to Trump in this case. However, Honig believes that Cannon’s decision has made it almost impossible for Smith to pursue that option.

“I actually think what the judge did today forecloses that, makes it impossible to do that because the judge said, ‘Well, we’re gonna decide when the trial happens, and maybe it’s something that will go to the jury,'” Honig continued.

“You really can’t appeal that if you’re Jack Smith. And by the way, Brie, this is why I think Jack Smith is concerned with today’s ruling. Although he won in the sense that the court did not dismiss the charges, if I’m Jack Smith – and I think Smith feels the same way – I’m very worried about this defense going to a jury because it’s confusing, because it’s complicated, because it’s technical. And prosecutors always want to tell a simple, straightforward story. And frankly, defendants want to muck things up,” he added.

“And as much as I think this defense lacks merit, I do think it could confuse a jury in a way that would worry me as a prosecutor,” he said.

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Also, in her order, Cannon chastised Smith for seeking jury instructions way too early, “prior to trial, prior to a charge conference, and prior to the presentation of trial defenses and evidence.”

Meanwhile, jury selection in Trump’s hush money case in Manhattan wrapped up on Friday after 12 jurors and six alternates were selected.

At one point during the proceedings, the judge presiding over the case sided with Trump’s legal team in a ruling that will give them access to jurors’ private information, according to a report by Newsweek.

The outlet reported that Judge Juan Merchan’s ruling comes after more than one prospective juror expressed concerns that their private information had been leaked and their identities revealed.

“Merchan sided with Trump’s attorneys on Thursday, agreeing that it was ‘necessary’ for counsel to know the current and previous employers of the potential jurors, but that those details did not need to be publicized by the press,” the report said.

Manhattan District Attorney’s office prosecutors proposed that jurors refrain from answering two of the “most identifying” questions on the list. These questions, labeled as 3A and 3, inquire about the juror’s current and prior employers, respectively.

Merchan also chided the media for leaks about at least one juror who requested to be dismissed after some personal information leaked.

“The press is certainly able and permitted to write about anything that’s on the record because it’s on the record,” said Merchan. “But I’m directing that the press simply applies common sense.”

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