Jack Smith Exposes Trump For ‘Stating The Opposite’ Of The Law In Court


In a new filing with federal Judge Tanya Chutkan rebuffing a series of arguments from former President Donald Trump related to the discovery process in his criminal case on allegations of multiple, 2020 election-related conspiracies, federal prosecutors led by Special Counsel Jack Smith accuse the former president of claiming the exact opposite of an actual legal standard.

In short, Trump’s team has been seeking to significantly expand the obligations on the government during the discovery process with broader-than-usual arguments for what should be turned over. Discovery, in this context, refers to a routine, pretrial period in which materials related to the case are assembled and shared, but there are strict guidelines for what must actually be given for review. “As he has done elsewhere, the defendant miscasts relevant caselaw and incorrectly asserts that materiality “only requires ‘some abstract logical relationship to the issues in the case,”” prosecutors wrote in court. (Whether something is “material” to key elements of the case is among the factors deciding if it’s subject to discovery obligations.)

“Here, the defendant is actually stating the opposite of what the law requires. In United States v. Ross, which the Caicedo-Llanos court’s footnote misquoted, the Fifth Circuit held that materiality “means more than that the evidence in question bears some abstract logical relationship to the issues in the case,”” the government said. “Subsequent courts in this district have recognized the actual test.”

Trump is currently seeking a temporary halt to proceedings in this case while he pursues appeals at a higher level, pushing an argument that he has wide-ranging presidential immunity covering his past tenure. The claimed protection from the Trump team is immunity shielding all actions Trump took as president unless disputed conduct was the subject of an impeachment followed by a Senate conviction, a concept that Chutkan rejected. Chutkan, before whom Trump brought his request for a halt while pursuing higher-level appeals, could decide soon, with final arguments on the request due Tuesday.