Advertisement

Judge Rips Smith Over Failing To Let Trump Legal Team View Docs In Florida

Advertisement

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


U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, who is overseeing former President Donald Trump’s classified documents case, chastised special counsel Jack Smith and his team for failing to give Trump’s legal team “timely” access to evidence materials.

Smith had requested to keep the documents in a secure area in Washington, D.C., nearly 1,000 miles away from the southern Florida district where the case was filed, something Cannon found unacceptable.

“The parties are advised that production of classified discovery to defense counsel is deemed timely upon placement in an accredited facility in the Southern District of Florida, not in another federal district,” Cannon wrote in her order on Tuesday.

“It is the responsibility of the Office of the Special Counsel to make and carry out arrangements to deposit such discovery to defense counsel in this District, in consultation with the Litigation Security Group for security purposes,” she added. “The Office of the Special Counsel shall update and/or clarify any prior responses to the Standard Discovery Order in accordance with this Order.”

In an order earlier this year, Cannon detailed the rules for viewing the documents Trump is accused of mishandling.

Advertisement

Trump hasn’t gotten many court wins in recent months, but his team managed a small victory last week in the case, and it could lead to a big victory.

Cannon said she was “temporarily delaying a previously set schedule of deadlines stretching from October through May for the Justice Department to make classified documents available to Trump’s lawyers and for the defense team to have time to review them,” Yahoo News reported, citing The Messenger.

In addition, Trump’s legal team asked Cannon to push back the start date of the trial from May 2024 until after the November election, but she has yet to rule on that request, the outlets noted. That said, some observers noted that her decision to move back the deadlines made it less likely that the trial would begin on May 20, as she previously ruled.

The reason that matters is because should Trump succeed “in pushing back the trial and also manages to win reelection in 2024, critics fear that he will simply attempt to pardon himself if found guilty of the felony charges Smith has brought against him,” Yahoo News noted.

Also last week, Cannon “postponed a hearing on whether one of Trump’s co-defendants understood that his lawyer might have conflicts of interest,” The New York Times reported, going on to say that she also admonished the prosecutorial team for “wasting” time.

“At issue was a request by Mr. Smith’s team that Judge Cannon hold a hearing to make sure that Mr. Trump’s co-defendants — both of whom are employed by him — understood that their lawyers, who are being paid by a political action committee affiliated with the former president and who have represented witnesses in the case, had possible conflicts,” the Times reported.

Advertisement

“In the case of one co-defendant, Carlos De Oliveira, the property manager at Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s private club and residence, the hearing proceeded largely without incident. Mr. De Oliveira’s lawyer, John Irving, had represented three witnesses in the case,” the outlet added.

Nevertheless, Smith’s classified documents case is likely to be tossed out in large part or in full because of a procedural error, according to investigative reporter Paul Sperry.

In early September, the RealClearInvestigations correspondent cited unnamed “legal insiders” in an X platform post, writing, “DEVELOPING: Legal insiders say Jack Smith’s USC 1001 false statement charges against Trump will be tossed since Trump was never even interviewed by a federal agent.”

Also, Sperry intimated that Smith’s case is not built on substantial evidence but instead relies largely on inflammatory rhetoric meant to sway a jury.

“NEW: Jack Smith’s Jan. 6 indictment of Trump repeatedly relies on a fuselage of subjective, even inflammatory language devoid of underlying facts and evidence to appeal emotionally to jurors, including: “fraudulent/fraudulently” (63) “false/falsely” (94) “fake” (5) “sham” (3)” he wrote in another X post.

Sperry also claimed that Smith’s case relies in large part on an “emoji.”

“DEVELOPING: Jack Smith’s Mar-a-Lago obstruction case against Trump is based on an emailed ’emoji’ related to security camera footage that was never actual [sic] destroyed, according to legal insiders,” he tweeted.

Advertisement
Test your skills with this Quiz!