U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon expressed her dissatisfaction with special counsel Jack Smith and his team for their failure to provide former President Donald Trump’s legal team with timely access to evidence materials in the classified documents case under her jurisdiction.
She further found unacceptable Smith’s request to keep the documents in a secure area located nearly 1,000 miles away from the district of southern Florida where the case was filed.
“The parties are advised that production of classified discovery to defense counsel is deemed timely upon placement in an accredited facility in the Southern District of Florida, not in another federal district,” Cannon wrote in her order on Tuesday.
“It is the responsibility of the Office of the Special Counsel to make and carry out arrangements to deposit such discovery to defense counsel in this District, in consultation with the Litigation Security Group for security purposes,” she added. “The Office of the Special Counsel shall update and/or clarify any prior responses to the Standard Discovery Order in accordance with this Order.”
In an order earlier this year, Cannon outlined the rules for viewing the documents Trump is accused of mishandling. Last week, she issued further rulings in the case that could lead to a big victory for Trump and his legal team.
These rulings include temporarily delaying a previously set schedule of deadlines stretching from October to May for the Justice Department to make classified documents available to Trump’s lawyers, and also pushing back the start date of the trial from May 2024 until after November’s election.
Additionally, Cannon postponed a hearing on whether one of Trump’s co-defendants understood that his lawyer might have conflicts of interest and admonished the prosecutorial team for wasting time.
Observers noted that her decision to move back deadlines made it less likely that trial would begin on May 20 as originally ruled.
Further, should Trump succeed in pushing back the trial and win reelection in 2024, concerns arise over whether he will attempt to pardon himself if found guilty of felony charges Smith has brought against him.
“At issue was a request by Mr. Smith’s team that Judge Cannon hold a hearing to make sure that Mr. Trump’s co-defendants — both of whom are employed by him — understood that their lawyers, who are being paid by a political action committee affiliated with the former president and who have represented witnesses in the case, had possible conflicts,” the Times reported.
“In the case of one co-defendant, Carlos De Oliveira, the property manager at Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s private club and residence, the hearing proceeded largely without incident. Mr. De Oliveira’s lawyer, John Irving, had represented three witnesses in the case,” the outlet added.
According to investigative reporter Paul Sperry, Jack Smith’s classified documents case is likely to be dismissed, at least in part, due to a procedural error.
In an X platform post on early September, Sperry cited unnamed “legal insiders” who stated that the charges of USC 1001 false statement against Trump would be thrown out as Trump was never interviewed by a federal agent.
Furthermore, Sperry suggested that the case lacks substantial evidence and instead relies heavily on rhetoric intended to influence the jury.
“NEW: Jack Smith’s Jan. 6 indictment of Trump repeatedly relies on a fuselage of subjective, even inflammatory language devoid of underlying facts and evidence to appeal emotionally to jurors, including: “fraudulent/fraudulently” (63) “false/falsely” (94) “fake” (5) “sham” (3)” he wrote in another X post.
Sperry also claimed that Smith’s case relies in large part on an “emoji.”
“DEVELOPING: Jack Smith’s Mar-a-Lago obstruction case against Trump is based on an emailed ’emoji’ related to security camera footage that was never actual [sic] destroyed, according to legal insiders,” he tweeted.