Jack Smith Fires Back After Classified Docs Judge Appears Open To Trump’s ‘Flawed’ Logic

Special counsel Jack Smith issued a blistering rebuke of the judge overseeing the classified documents case against former President Donald Trump on Tuesday, saying a recent order relied on legal interpretations that are “fundamentally flawed.”

Smith filed a response to a recent order from Judge Aileen Cannon that required lawyers from both sides of the case to submit jury instructions before she has even set a trial date. Trump and two co-conspirators have been indicted with dozens of felony federal counts related to the former president’s handling of classified documents after he left the White House. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Cannon’s order appeared to give credence to Trump’s claim that he had broad authority to take anything he wanted after his presidency ended under the auspices of the Presidential Records Act. Smith rejected the judge’s assertions in the filing, and said it was “pure fiction to suggest that highly classified documents” were Trump’s private property under the act.

“That legal premise is wrong, and a jury instruction … that reflects that premise would distort the trial,” Smith’s team wrote. “The [Presidential Records Act]’s distinction between personal and presidential records has no bearing on whether a former President’s possessions of documents containing national defense information is authorized under the Espionage Act, and the PRA should play no role in the jury instructions.”

Legal experts have expressed deep concern with Cannon’s order for jury instructions, as well as the slow pace of the case thus far.

Smith went on to argue that the court must rule if Trump’s “unstated legal premise” is a correct interpretation of the law. If Cannon does so, he wrote, the government would ask another court to intervene.

“If the Court wrongly concludes that it does, and that it intends to include the PRA in the jury instructions,” Smith wrote, “The Government must have the opportunity to consider appellate review.”

He went on to say that Trump’s attempt to leverage the Presidential Records Act in the case was “not based on any facts” and had only been “concocted more than a year after he left the White House.”

“He has attempted to fashion out of whole cloth a legal presumption that would operate untethered to any facts,” Smith wrote. “There is no basis in law or fact for that legal presumption, and the Court should reject Trump’s effort to invent one as a vehicle to inject the PRA into this case.”

Trump has vehemently attacked prosecutors in the case. He is set to go to trial for another of his four indictments — centered on hush money payments to an adult film star — on April 15.

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