Jack Smith accused Trump's attorneys of 'misleading' court in seeking delay of classified docs trial

 October 10, 2023

Special Counsel Jack Smith's office has essentially accused former President Donald Trump's defense team of lying to and deliberately "misleading" the court in a request to delay trial in the classified documents case until after the 2024 elections, according to Courthouse News.

That assertion from Smith's office came Monday in reply brief to a motion filed last week by Trump's team which accused prosecutors of breaking their word on the timeliness of discovery releases, not making sufficient accommodations to review classified materials, and of withholding potentially exculpatory information, among other complaints.

Trump's attorneys request delay in trial start date

It was on Wednesday last week that former President Trump's attorneys filed a 12-page motion that sought to make changes to the court's schedule with respect to future motions as well as to delay the start of the trial from May 2024 until mid-November 2024 or later -- notably, after the elections have taken place.

Several reasons for the requested delay were put forward, not the least of which was that the special counsel's office, despite its initial promise to immediately turn over all discovery materials, have yet to actually do so, particularly with respect to certain classified or sensitive documents that are currently being withheld.

Along those lines, Trump's attorneys asserted that prosecutors have dragged their feet in establishing secure facilities in South Florida where classified documents and other sensitive materials can be reviewed -- instead requiring them to travel to secure facilities in Washington D.C. -- as well as in granting full security clearance to Trump's lead attorney in the case, Chris Kise, who thus far has been unable to fully review the purported evidence against his client.

Given those delays in accommodating the defense team, not to mention the massive volume of unclassified information that has already been turned over -- including well over a million pages of documents and nearly 80 terrabytes of surveillance video footage, with potentially more to come -- Trump's lawyers have requested a delay in the trial to allow adequate time for the particular accommodations to be made and to thoroughly review all discovery materials.

Special Counsel essentially accused Trump's team of lying to court

Yet, in a response brief filed Monday in opposition to that motion, the special counsel's office asserted that the roughly seven months remaining until the scheduled start date of the trial in May 2024 was sufficient time for the special accommodations to be made and for the defendant to fully review the discovery material that already had been or soon would be turned over.

In making that counterargument, the prosecutors repeatedly accused Trump's attorneys of having "distorted" the facts and of "misleading" the court with false claims based on "inaccurate or incomplete" allegations against the government.

They insisted that the vast majority of discoverable materials had already been turned over, with more to come shortly; that secure facilities for reviewing classified documents would soon be completed in South Florida; and that a delay to the trial's start date was unwarranted as there remained ample time for the defendant to make the necessary preparations for those upcoming proceedings in May.

The filing also seemed to cast blame on Trump's attorney Kise himself for not yet being fully cleared to review classified materials and for not yet having an opportunity to review all of the voluminous unclassified materials already handed over -- not only ignoring but outright dismissing the fact that Kise is currently tied up defending Trump in other ongoing legal matters, to say nothing of the multiple other impending prosecutions that must be prepared for in the same brief time frame.

"The defendants provide no credible justification to postpone a trial that is still seven months away," the special counsel's office concluded. "They are fully informed about the charges and the theory of the Government’s case from a highly detailed superseding indictment and comprehensive, organized unclassified and classified discovery."

"Their unfounded claims of Government noncompliance with discovery obligations do not support their request. Their claims about their inability to review classified information are distorted and exaggerated, and, in any event, the Government expects that the CISO will resolve any remaining issues this week," the prosecutors added. "There is no reason to adjourn the trial date. The defendants’ motion should be denied."

Hearing on other matters already scheduled for this week

Courthouse News reported that District Judge Aileen Cannon already has a hearing in the case scheduled for Thursday, though the matter at hand for that proceeding is a discussion of possible conflicts of interest for the defense attorneys with respect to the defendants and possible witnesses.

It is unclear if the judge will use that hearing to also discuss the competing motions for and against a trial delay or, perhaps more likely, will schedule another hearing in the near future to discuss and rule upon that particular topic.

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