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HomeGeneralJudge Rejects Prosecutors’ Motion to Compel Trump to Disclose Legal Tactics

Judge Rejects Prosecutors’ Motion to Compel Trump to Disclose Legal Tactics

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Donald Trump
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It has been a couple of years since Donald Trump became President of the United States. But the consequences of his actions back then are still trying to catch up with him. Even now.

One such consequence is the ongoing classified documents case against the former President. However, he gets some breathing space as a significant development has occurred. This time, in his favor. 

The federal judge overseeing the case has made a crucial decision regarding a request from Federal special prosecutor Jack Smith. Smith requested to compel former President Trump to reveal part of his legal tactics. However, the federal judge handling the case rejected the request.

Smith’s team wanted to know if Trump intended to use an “advice-of-counsel” defense against charges of him illegally retaining and storing classified materials. This strategy implies that Trump was following legal advice regarding handling classified documents post-presidency.

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ALSO READ: Trump Moves to Throw Out Georgia Election Interference Case On Presidential Immunity Grounds

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon issued a paperless order, pointing out that it’s too early for Trump’s counsel to disclose their defense plans to prosecutors. The decision entered the docket on January 12.

Judge Cannon’s order reads, “Assuming the facts and circumstances, in this case, warrant an order compelling disclosure of an advice-of-counsel trial defense, the Court determines that such a request is not amenable to proper consideration at this juncture.” The Special Counsel’s Motion 208 was thus denied without prejudice.

The fact that it was denied ‘without prejudice’ means federal prosecutors can revisit this issue in the future. Such luck was absent in a separate case in Washington involving Trump. 

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In the case, which relates to the previous election, a federal judge ordered the former President to disclose his defense strategy. Specifically, he must reveal whether he plans to rely on an advice-of-counsel defense by a set deadline.

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The Smith team filed a motion in November arguing that Trump should disclose part of his legal strategy. They based this on Trump’s public statements indicating he thought he was under no legal obligation to return classified documents to the government.

The court filing by Smith’s team alleged that Trump stated he was “under no obligation” to hand over classified materials. This is based on “various legal rulings that have been made over the years.”

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The filing also included a reference to a post by Trump on Truth Social. In it, he mentioned that his attorneys were cooperating fully with the government. And that they could provide anything asked of them.

ALSO READ: Trump’s Comments About Civil War Sparks Backlash from Civil Rights Group

Aside from denying Smith’s team, Judge Cannon also granted Trump’s request to file an “oversized consolidated brief” for discovery motions in the documents case. This gives space for extensive briefing, reflecting just how complex the case is.

In late December, Judge Cannon approved a request from the special counsel’s office for early preparation of jury questions ahead of Trump’s trial in May 2024. This proves a thorough jury selection process is anticipated due to substantial pre-trial publicity.

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