Jack Smith Blows A Hole In Trump’s Excuses: They’re ‘Not Based On Any Facts’

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In a new court filing from a criminal case against Donald Trump accusing him of the mishandling of sensitive government records, federal prosecutors accuse the former president of an effort “not based on any facts.”

At issue were the Trump team’s gesticulations towards a piece of federal law termed the Presidential Records Act (PRA), in connection to which the idea emerged that Trump designating certain records as “personal” could have significant sway in this case. Prosecutors argue that the law’s delineation between “personal” and “presidential” in records discussions has no bearing on central issues of the case — and besides, they say, there were no designations of key records as “personal” in relevant time-frames, aka when Trump was president.

The judge “should be aware at the outset that Trump’s entire effort to rely on the PRA is not based on any facts,” prosecutors wrote. “It is a post hoc justification that was concocted more than a year after he left the White House, and his invocation in this Court of the PRA is not grounded in any decision he actually made during his presidency to designate as personal any of the records charged in the Superseding Indictment. […] Importantly, Trump has never represented to this Court that he in fact designated the classified documents as personal. He made no such claim in his motion to dismiss, in his reply, or at the hearing on March 14, 2024, despite every opportunity and every incentive to do so.”

In the same filing, prosecutors were also sharply critical of earlier directives from presiding Judge Aileen Cannon that they produce competing proposals for jury instructions that, prosecutors said, both rested on an incorrect application of the law. (That legal interpretation is one that centers purported designations of records as “personal” in discussions of requirements under federal rules for the handling of sensitive documents. They’re separate issues, prosecutors insist.) The government demanded that they be provided ample opportunity for appeal in the event Cannon moves forward with the interpretations reflected by the hypothetical instructions.