Jack Smith Hints At Reason Trump Hoarded Classified Documents

A trial may offer clarity about why, exactly, the former president squirreled away government records at Mar-a-Lago.

Buried in a court filing this week, special prosecutor Jack Smith nodded to a burning question at the heart of the classified documents case against Donald Trump: Why would a former president keep government secrets at a Florida golf resort home, where members and staffers frequently come and go?

Government prosecutors may have some kind of answer, according to a subsection of the filing that was first reported by The Washington Post.

It hints that clarity is on the horizon: “why it occurred, what Trump knew, and what Trump intended” are all issues supposedly provable by the evidence.

But we will likely not know more until trial, which is currently scheduled to begin May 20, 2024.

The Monday filing responded to a request from Trump’s team to delay the trial, and pushed back on suggestions the prosecution team was unprepared.

Some of the classified documents at issue in the case have yet to be made available to defense attorneys as the court works to ensure their safety. In the discovery process, attorneys for both sides share information that might be used at trial in the name of fairness.

Prosecutors said they expected those classified documents to be made available shortly. But they emphasized that the case actually hinged on unclassified information that has already been turned over.

In fact, prosecutors argued, they are largely running ahead of schedule, having already produced a whopping amount of evidentiary material to defendants Trump, Waltine Nauta and Carlos de Oliviera. (Nauta is Trump’s body man and de Oliviera is a property manager at Mar-a-Lago, the golf club Trump has lived at since leaving office.)

The evidence effectively provides a “blueprint” of Smith’s “case-in-chief,” the filing said, comprising more than 1 million pages of unclassified documents, with thousands of key pages highlighted, along with other evidence like security video taken from Mar-a-Lago “with key footage identified” and “relevant content from three electronic devices.”

“The Government has endeavored to assist the defense’s review of these productions by categorizing materials logically, explaining the productions’ content and organization through informative cover letters, and curating ‘key’ documents and videos,” the filing stated.

It continued:

[T]he fact is that the great majority of the allegations in the indictment — including allegations of the defendants’ conduct, knowledge, and intent — turn on evidence contained in the unclassified discovery, not the much smaller set of classified discovery. That the classified materials at issue in this case were taken from the White House and retained at Mar-a-Lago is not in dispute; what is in dispute is how that occurred, why it occurred, what Trump knew, and what Trump intended in retaining them — all issues that the Government will prove at trial primarily with unclassified evidence.

Trump’s attorneys have tried repeatedly to push back his various trials to after the 2024 presidential election but, so far, their efforts have been unsuccessful. He has two other trials in the pipeline: a federal case relating to his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, and a state-level case relating to the same issue.

His civil trial in New York over allegedly illegal business practices is ongoing.

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