Donald Trump’s Legal Filing Criticizes ‘Frivolous’ Attempt to ‘Hide’ Secret Documents

Raushan
President Donald Trump looks on during a campaign event on December 19 in Waterloo, Iowa. In the classified documents case, his lawyers are asking the judge to grant them access to the documents that special counsel Jack Smith wants to redact. © Getty Images

Lawyers for Donald Trump have asked a federal judge once more to provide them access to the confidential records that special counsel Jack Smith wishes to redact.

Trump is accused of illegally storing sensitive materials at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, after leaving the White House and concealing them from government investigators. Among the 37 allegations are retaining classified information, impeding justice, and making false claims.

In June, he pled not guilty to the accusations. The trial is scheduled for May 20, 2024, however it could be postponed.

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Earlier in December, Trump’s lawyers asked for access to records filed by Smith’s office under Section 4 of the Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA), which are not available to defense counsel.

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Trump’s lawyers said in a filing in “further support” of the move on Wednesday that Smith’s office’s allegation that the motion’s “contours” are too sensitive to be provided to them is “frivolous.” They said that the court should reject the administration’s “attempt to hide unclassified arguments from President Trump’s cleared counsel.”

Trump’s attorneys also claimed that the special counsel’s office admitted that portions of the documents are designated unclassified, including some of the office’s “argument sections.”

Smith’s office cannot avoid disclosing the complete filing on the basis of a “vague claim that’some’—but apparently not all—of the unclassified paragraphs in its submission would ‘risk revealing classified information,'” the lawyers said.

“CIPA does not apply to unclassified information,” they noted. As a result, there is no reason to deny cleared counsel access to these elements of the Office’s filing.”

Additionally, Trump’s attorneys contended that the court ought to deny the special counsel’s office’s claim that “neither the defendant nor his counsel has a necessity to know the information that the government is attempting to withhold from them.”

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President Trump had access to classified information during his tenure as the county’s leader, his attorneys contended.

“Under those circumstances, it is extraordinary, unprecedented, and improper for the Special Counsel’s Office to try to withhold such information from the defense as the Office seeks to use this prosecution to target the leading candidate in the 2024 presidential election,” the attorneys stated.

His attorneys also wrote that Smith’s office is not the “exclusive arbiter of President Trump’s ‘need to know,'” and that the former president may be exempt from the need-to-know requirement.

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According to them, President Donald Trump is entitled to a waiver because he had access to the information at issue, even if not the particular documents.

Additionally, Trump’s attorneys asserted that courts view ex parte proceedings with “appropriate skepticism.” One party initiates an ex parte proceeding at their request and for their benefit, typically without involving or informing the other party.

The authors stated that cleared counsel should have the minimum right to review and contest the prosecution’s proffered justifications and claimed evidentiary basis, if any, for ex parte proceedings.

In summary, they stated that Trump “humbly requests” that the court issue an order requiring Smith’s office to “grant his authorized counsel access solely for attorneys” and to upload redacted versions of all submissions made pursuant to CIPA Section 4. Furthermore, they asked for the inclusion of these submissions on the public docket.

Smith told the court on December 20 that neither Trump nor his co-defendants in the case had given any reason “remotely justifying a deviation from the normal process,” which is that judges look at and decide CIPA Section 4 motions “in camera [in private] and ex parte.”

Trump’s past access to secret papers and the security clearances of his lawyers are “all beside the point,” Smith wrote. A safety clearance “is not an automatic entitlement to classified information; an individual must also have a need-to-know the information, and no counsel or defendant has a need-to-know the information the government seeks to withhold from Trump and his counsel.”

Trump faces charges for four crimes as he attempts to regain the White House. The classified papers case is one of them.

On March 4, 2024, in Washington, D.C., federal charges linked to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election will be tried against Trump.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, he paid an adult film star hush money to keep quiet. In Georgia, charges have been filed against him for attempting to overturn the state’s election law. In every case, Trump has said he did nothing wrong.

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By Raushan
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A Software engineer by profession, cook and blogger by passion
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