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    Special Prosecutor Jack Smith’s Admissions Lead to Judge Cannon Postponing Deadline In Classified Document Case 

    May 7, 2024
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    If a prosecutor manipulates evidence and admits it to a court, a presiding judge is required to respond, and, that is exactly what Judge Aileen Cannon did on Monday night in Trump’s classified document case. 

    It is a very serious violation by a prosecutorial team to accuse anyone of knowingly possessing documents, ultimately seizing them in a full-throttle FBI raid, and then turning around and manipulating and/or destroying the evidence. That type of manipulation could undermine any prosecutorial claim before any court.

    Hence, Judge Cannon postponed a key deadline in the classified documents case filed with the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida against Trump and his co-defendants after Special Counsel Jack Smith admitted to tampering with the seized evidence.

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    The judge temporarily has stayed a May 9 deadline for President Trump and his co-defendants Walt Nauta and Carlos de Oliveira.

    President Trump’s attorneys wrote a letter to the prosecutors about this admission that the classified documents were not in their original form.

    “Your failure to disclose the spoliation of this evidence until this month is an extraordinary breach of your constitutional and ethical obligations. Since the beginning of this case, our strategy, preparations, and arguments have been based on the basic premise that — biased as Jack Smith is in his futile efforts to help President Biden make up lost ground in the polls — the line prosecutors and agents would employ the minimal levels of professionalism and competence necessary to preserve evidence relating to the documents at the center of the charges,” Trump’s lawyer wrote to the special counsel’s team.

    This admission stems from a May 1 Motion filed by co-defendant Walt Nauta’s attorney who claimed his client had difficulty cross-referencing materials in the classified and unclassified discovery. 

    Nauta’s attorney claimed that “certain items in the seized boxes he reviewed were in a different order from where they appear in the scans of the boxes’ contents produced in discovery.”

    Special Counsel Jack Smith on Friday evening responded to Nauta’s Motion to Extend a Deadline for Disclosures in the case. Smith admitted the FBI messed with the seized boxes containing “classified” documents they seized  and can’t be sure the order or the placement of the documents.

    According to a footnote in the government’s Response to Nauta’s Motion, the FBI messed with the boxes containing the ‘classified’ documents they seized.

    Footnote 3The Government acknowledges that this is inconsistent with what Government counsel previously understood and represented to the Court. See, e.g., 4/12/24 Hearing Tr. at 65 (Government responding to the Court’s question of whether the boxes were “in their original, intact form as seized” by stating “[t]hey are, with one exception; and that is that the classified documents have been removed and placeholders have been put in the documents”

    The DOJ in August 2022 had represented to the court that the red, blue and yellow sheets shown in the viral photo of the classified documents indicated their classification status.

    The government’s response emphasized the painstaking process the government filter team used in handling the documents. The prosecutors informed Judge Cannon, that the “team took care to ensure that no documents were moved from one box to another, but it was not focused on maintaining the sequence of the documents."

    The government’s response also stipulates that FBI agents were “present when an outside vendor [digitally] scanned the documents” at the time of the seizure raid but that other “appropriate personnel” have had access to the document boxes since then. The response admits that “there are some boxes where the order of items within that box is not the same as in the associated scans.”

    The prosecutors offered “several possible explanations” for the movement, one being that “the boxes contain items smaller than standard paper such as index cards, books, and stationary, which shift easily when the boxes are carried, especially because many of the boxes are not full.” 

    Friday’s government response came just days after Cannon unsealed more than 300 pages of newly unredacted documents in the case. It was reported that “top Biden administration officials worked with NARA to develop” what would eventually become Smith’s case against Trump. 

    Trump’s legal team has filed several Motions to Dismiss this case based on “selective and vindictive prosecution.” 



    Christine Dolan

    Christine Dolan is a seasoned Investigative Journalist, television producer, author, and photographer. She is Co-Founder of American Conversations whose format focuses on in-depth analysis of critical issues about “the story behind the headlines.”
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