Special Counsel Slams Judge’s Demand For Jury Guidelines In Trump’s Case

Businessman with clenched fist on desk at office. Angry and furious businessman at meeting.

(BrightPress.org) – Special counsel Jack Smith, the U.S. prosecutor leading the case against Donald Trump for storing classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago home after his presidency ended, is pushing back against U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon for requesting both prosecution and defense attorneys submit specific jury instructions.

Cannon requested two versions of the proposed jury instructions. In the first version, Cannon requested the jury be instructed to assess whether the documents in question fall in the categories of “personal” or “presidential” as described by the Presidential Records Act (PRA). The second version asks the jury to assume that Trump had full authority, as president, to take records from the White House.

Smith’s team insists that both scenarios are based on a “fundamentally flawed legal premise” referring to the Presidential Records Act and its distinction between personal and presidential records.

Trump’s team submitted their proposed jury instructions for the first scenario suggesting the judge tell jurors that per the PRA, Trump was authorized to possess documents defined as “personal records” during and after his presidential term. The legal team wrote “there can be no appropriate jury instructions…” for the second scenario because it “forecloses prosecution of President Trump.”

Smith’s team says the documents Trump allegedly illegally retained are related to U.S. military and intelligence operations and the American nuclear program, and therefore could not be designated as personal records and his possession of the classified documents violated the Espionage Act. The prosecution team has repeatedly insisted the PRA has no bearing in this case. Trump’s attorneys assert that the documents were designated as personal when Trump had the boxes taken to Mar-a-Lago, or at least Trump believed this to be the case.

Cannon has not yet ruled on multiple motions from Trump and his legal team to dismiss the indictment but said arguments presented by Trump’s attorneys may be “appropriate to present to a trial jury.” Her request for jury instructions may show she is considering how the PRA fits into the case.

Copyright 2024, BrightPress.org