Special Counsel Gives Trump Attorneys First Evidence Batch in Classified Documents Case

June 22, 2023

Special Counsel Jack Smith on Wednesday turned over to Trump attorneys a first batch of evidence in the investigation into the former President’s handling of classified documents.

According to federal prosecutors’ court filing, the shared items include documents obtained via subpoena; evidence obtained via search warrants; transcripts of grand jury testimony taken before a grand jury in the District of Columbia and transcripts of grand jury testimony taken before a grand jury in the Southern District of Florida; and memorialization of witness interviews conducted through May 12, 2023.

“As we have informed counsel, it is the government’s intent to disclose promptly all witness statements and associated memorialization of those statements,” the filing goes on to say, “even if they would not be deemed discoverable” under U.S. legal code 18, section 3500.

That code is also known as the Jencks Act, and it requires prosecutors to produce verbatim statements or reports made by any government witness or prospective government witness—other than the defendant—but only after that witness has testified.

Trump was booked and arraigned on federal criminal charges at the U.S. Courthouse in Miami on June 13—a first for a former President ever in U.S. history.

The arraignment came after Trump was indicted the week prior by a federal grand jury in Florida on 37 criminal counts related to his retaining classified documents post-Presidency. The charges include 31 counts for willful retention of national defense secrets in violation of the Espionage Act, as well as one count of making false statements, one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, one count of withholding a document or record, one count of corruptly concealing a document or record, one count of concealing a document in a federal investigation, and one count of a scheme to conceal. 

Trump, though his attorney, pleaded “not guilty” to all charges.

The grand jury’s indictment followed a search-warranted raid on August 8 by FBI agents on Trump’s Florida country club residence, Mar-a-Lago. According to the unsealed indictment, agents found more than 100 documents marked classified during their search of the property. Boxes stored in places such as a ballroom, a bathroom, a shower, an office space, his bedroom and a storage room included classified information from such federal agencies as the CIA, Pentagon, NSA, and the National Reconnaissance Office, among others.

In November, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Smith, a veteran career prosecutor, as special counsel in the investigation.

Federal Judge Aileen Cannon with the Southern District of Florida, a Trump appointee, has set a tentative August 14 start date for the trial, and expects it to run for two weeks at the federal courthouse in Fort Pierce, Florida.

However, that start date could be delayed by such circumstances as motions from Trump’s legal team as well as the complex process surrounding the Classified Information Procedures Act.

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