Jack Smith turns over material 'that may be favorable' to Trump defense team

 March 5, 2024

While Special Counsel Jack Smith has spent the better part of a year prosecuting former President Donald Trump, one observer thinks Smith may have just helped Trump's defense. 

That's according to Newsweek senior writer Katherine Fung, who recently pointed to a court filing the special counsel submitted on Monday in Trump's classified documents case.

Filing references material which "may be favorable to either defendant"

"The Government is providing information or material known to the United States that may be favorable to either defendant on the issues of guilt or punishment," Fung quoted the filing as reading.

Smith also acknowledged that "the government is aware of its continuing duty to disclose newly discovered additional information required by the Standing Discovery Order."

Fung noted that Smith was acting in accordance with something known as the Brady rule, which is named after the landmark 1963 Supreme Court case Brady v. Maryland.

It holds that prosecutors are compelled to provide defendants with any potentially favorable information. Failure to do so can result in a mistrial or the prosecution being barred from using damning evidence.

Smith turned over copy of warrant application and interview memo

Michael McAuliffe formerly served as a federal prosecutor before becoming state attorney for Florida's Palm Beach County, and he told Fung that Smith's "filing is a standard supplemental discovery document."

"It incorporates the format used in the standard discovery order issued by the court in a criminal case," McAuliffe continued.

"The standard discovery order includes the language about providing any exculpatory or other evidence that is favorable to the defense," he went on to explain.

Fung pointed out that Smith's team has turned over a full copy of a warrant application for Trump aide and co-defendant Walt Nauta along with a memorandum from an interview it conducted on February 9.

Legal experts agree that new evidence is unlikely to exonerate Trump

However, former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani cautioned that the filing shouldn't be seen as a clear path towards Trump's exoneration.

"It doesn't necessarily mean the evidence is exculpatory," Rahmani stated before pointing out that "there are certain categories of documents the government has to produce."

These categories include "evidence subject to the Rules of Criminal Procedure, evidence that may be exculpatory (Brady), potential impeachment evidence (Giglio), and prior statements of witnesses (Jencks)."

For his part, McAuliffe offered a similar assessment, remarking, "I don't read the filing as classifying the new interview as exculpatory."

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