Smith asks judge to reconsider making witnesses public in documents case

 February 10, 2024

Special counsel prosecutors under Jack Smith are asking U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon to reconsider a ruling that could make witnesses and testimony in the classified documents case against former President Donald Trump public, arguing that the ruling would expose the witnesses to threats and intimidation.

Prosecutors argued that the wrong legal standard was applied in the ruling.

“Revelation of these witnesses’ identities, or the substance of their interviews with the FBI, dangerously risks exposing them,” the special counsel said, referencing a “well-documented pattern” of “threats, harassment, and intimidation” against others who testified against Trump in other cases.

The special counsel offered evidence that one potential witness has already been threatened, and that another witness retracted some of his testimony after getting his own lawyer and offered testimony that led to the superseding indictment and additional charges against Trump.

Withholding information

The special counsel is seeking to withhold information about witnesses from Trump and his legal team out of fear that Trump would make them public and they would be threatened.

It is extremely unusual to withhold this type of discovery information from a defendant since it could impact Trump's ability to defend himself in the case.

Defendants have a right to know who is accusing them and what they plan to say, in order to be able to defend against it.

It's also extremely unusual for prosecutors (backed by the DOJ) to ask a judge to reconsider an order they made, and it's the second time the DOJ has done this in the case.

Fair judge

Cannon, who was appointed by Trump, has seemed to be the only judge trying to be fair in any of Trump's cases so far.

Trump faces criminal charges of willfully retaining classified documents, including national defense information, making false statements and representations, conspiracy to obstruct justice, withholding a document or record, corruptly concealing a document, concealing a document in a federal investigation, and a scheme to conceal.

The case may take a whole new turn, however, since a special counsel reported on Thursday that President Joe Biden will not be prosecuted for doing the same thing that Trump is accused of doing.

In some ways, what Biden did was worse because he was never president and should never have had any of the documents.

He also kept them in an unlocked garage in a house where his son lived while in the throes of addiction, as well as in his office at the Penn Biden Center, which was paid for with donations from Chinese state-owned companies.

Prosecutors and Biden argued that what Trump did was worse because he allegedly refused to turn the documents over to the National Archive after repeated requests and he tried to cover up the presence of the documents at Mar-A-Lago.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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