Jack Smith Sounds Alarm About Threat to Trump Witnesses

Witnesses have been threatened in Donald Trump‘s classified documents case in Florida, the chief prosecutor has warned.

Jack Smith previously told the court that he wanted to remove the names and details of witnesses from court documents because he didn’t want a repeat of threats made by Trump supporters in other cases involving the former president.

Trump is facing 40 federal charges over his handling of sensitive materials retrieved from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, after leaving the White House in January 2021. He is accused of obstructing efforts by federal authorities to return them. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Newsweek reached out to Trump’s attorney via email for comment on Friday.

Smith previously told Judge Aileen Cannon that he opposes the public release of the names or job titles of witnesses, fearing that they will be the subject of a hate campaign by Trump supporters.

donald trump florida
Donald Trump greets supporters after speaking at an election-night watch party at Mar-a-Lago on March 5, 2024 in West Palm Beach, Florida. Trump is accused of hoarding classified documents at the estate after leaving the…

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In a filing late on Thursday, Smith revealed that witnesses have now received threats in the classified documents case.

Smith wrote that prosecutors are seeking “minimal” redaction on 13 pages to avoid identifying witnesses.

Those pages include the names of FBI agents who executed search warrants on Trump and two of his staff, who are accused of hiding presidential documents in Mar-a-Lago at Trump’s instruction.

Smith wrote that the government’s redactions “are truly minimal, representing portions of only 13 pages out of 268 pages of briefing” and follow “the articulation of threats that witnesses have already faced in this case and the potential for threats if names and identifying information are disclosed.”

“The Government has demonstrated that the limited sealing or redaction proposed here meets not only the good cause standard, but also the higher standard of being ‘necessitated by a compelling governmental interest and narrowly tailored to serve that interest,'” his briefing adds.

Smith goes on to argue that there are few criminal prosecutions in which the government has produced so much disclosure material “especially in a circumstance where the potential for threats and intimidation to Government witnesses is real and verifiable.”

In a filing on March 5, Smith’s office told Cannon that it wanted to “email unredacted versions of the briefs and attachments, as well as red-box versions of the briefs and attachments showing proposed redactions, to the Court and defense counsel on March 7.”

In political circles, “red box” refers to coded language used by U.S. political parties on their websites to circumvent campaign finance laws. By speaking in recognized codes, Democrats and Republicans can instruct Political Action Committees to spend money on political campaigns without the PACs illegally contributing to the political parties directly.

Smith wants to use similar coded language in publicly available court filings so that nobody can identify the FBI agents and witnesses who may be testifying against Trump.

In a court filing in February, Smith alluded to threats made in other Trump cases. These are believed to be the other federal case Smith is prosecuting against Trump, in which the former president is accused of trying to illegally interfere in the result of the 2020 election and the civil fraud trial against Trump in New York.

In both those cases, the courts heard that there were substantial threats made to court staff by Trump supporters.