Trump seeks delay in classified documents case, saying prosecutors mishandled evidence

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Former President Donald Trump, left, and special advisor Jack Smith.


Donald TrumpLawyers have found a new reason to seek to delay the case Secret documents issue: Some documents found in boxes at Mar-a-Lago have been out of order since FBI agents seized them two years ago.

Trump’s lawyers noted in a memo on Monday that mixing up documents within boxes in evidence may also be grounds for dismissal of the case. They said they would file a motion to dismiss if the prosecution could not “credibly prove how it seized and handled key evidence in the case, which will be a central issue in any prosecution.”

In a brief order Monday, federal Judge Eileen Cannon stayed the deadline the defendants faced this week for certain pretrial disclosures, and said there would be a follow-up order to reschedule deadlines and hearings. The order did not provide any additional explanation.

The office of private attorney Jack Smith admitted in a recent lawsuit that, at least, in some of the funds acquired in… Mar-a-Lago searchThe documents are now in a different order inside each box than they were when the Justice Department first took custody of the boxes.

“President Trump and his attorneys are deeply disturbed to learn of these facts nearly 11 months after charges were filed in this case,” Trump’s lawyers wrote in the filing. The revelations from Smith’s office “raise questions about the investigation and handling of evidence that must be addressed before the matter can proceed.”

It was Trump Charged with mishandling national defense information After the FBI in August 2022 seized boxes from a Florida estate containing secretly marked documents mixed with other documents and personal effects of the former president. Trump and his co-defendants pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors noted in their court filing that the funds underwent several audits, including one sought by Trump. Cannon A was designated Special master At Trump’s request in 2022 to review seized documents and determine what should be withheld from investigators due to privilege issues.

The arrangement of the documents may become crucial to the defense of Trump and his co-defendants. Currently, defense lawyers are asking for a postponement, saying that the revelation of this case has disrupted preparations for their trial.

In a filing Monday, Trump’s lawyers say they relied on the arrangement of classified materials inside the boxes when they reviewed them as part of the discovery process. At that point, lawyers say classified materials were “buried inside the boxes,” which they say could help clear Trump of any wrongdoing.

The attorneys also say “it is our understanding” that confidential materials were found next to the items that “provided appropriate context” about when the document was placed in the box, according to the filing.

When the boxes were first seized in 2022, they were reviewed for privileged material by a team of Justice Department lawyers separate from the investigative team. Then, as part of another review by investigators, the confidential documents inside the boxes were removed and replaced with placeholder paper. As part of the special master operation ordered by Cannon, the contents of the boxes were scanned so that inventories of their contents could be created.

The documents and placeholder sheets remained inside the boxes in which they were found, but “there are some boxes where the arrangement of items within that box is not the same as in the associated scans,” prosecutors’ filing said.

Prosecutors acknowledged the discrepancy in response to a request last week from Trump’s co-defendant Walt nota That some pre-trial deadlines be postponed.

The defendants were required to inform the court by Thursday of the secret materials they intended to use as part of their defense, but Nauta and Trump said they were unable to meet that deadline due to the chaos of evidence.

Nota previously argued that prosecutors had not adequately shown that the boxes he is accused of moving from the Mar-a-Lago storage room contained the confidential documents investigators requested in a May 2022 subpoena.

Special counsel Smith has argued that Naota’s ability to meet this week’s deadline — which Cannon has since removed — should not be affected by the fact that some documents had fallen out of order inside each box.

A spokesman for Smith’s office declined further comment.

This story has been updated with additional developments.

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