Headline RoundupApril 3rd, 2024

Jack Smith Pushes Back On Judge Overseeing Trump's Classified Docs Case

Summary from the AllSides News Team

Jack Smith, the special counsel leading the classified documents case against former President Donald Trump, rebuked the judge overseeing the case in a court filing on Tuesday.

For Context: In June 2023, the Department of Justice indicted Trump on 37 criminal charges related to the alleged mishandling of classified materials that Trump took when he left the White House.

Details: Judge Aileen Cannon asked both parties to submit hypothetical jury instructions based on two different interpretations of the Presidential Records Act (PRA). Trump’s legal team is arguing that the PRA granted Trump authority to categorize classified documents as “personal records.” Smith is arguing that the PRA is not relevant to the charges, stating that the Espionage Act guards classified materials, not the PRA.

Key Quotes: Smith wrote, “The PRA’s distinction between personal and presidential records has no bearing on whether a former President’s possession of documents containing national defense information is authorized under the Espionage Act, and the PRA should play no role in the jury instructions. Indeed, based on the current record, the PRA should not play any role at trial at all.”

How the Media Covered It: The Washington Examiner (Lean Right bias) noted that “the prospects of this trial even getting underway by July have significantly diminished in recent days.” Newsweek (Center bias) focused on criticism of Cannon, quoting attorneys and legal experts predicting that Smith may soon attempt to have the judge removed from the case. The Washington Post (Lean Left bias) deemed Cannon’s instructions “unusual.”

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