Today, prosecutors responded to Trump’s “strange” request not to set a trial date for his violations of the Espionage Act indictment, and they did so with atypical anger and a very typical legal pounding.
Three days ago, Trump’s lawyers cited the politics, schedules, unique circumstances, and the elections as justification for not even setting a trial date until “all” legal issues arising from the case have been fully litigated.
Taking things a little out of order, Smith’s team slapped down the argument that “Trump is special” because he’s so busy running for president.
Smith put Trump in his place by writing:
“Many indicted defendants have demanding jobs that require a considerable amount of their time and energy, or a significant amount of travel. The Speedy Trial Act contemplates no such factor as a basis for a continuance, and the court should not indulge it here.”
As everyone can understand, that’s legalese for “you are not special, Don.”
Indeed, Smith’s reply memorandum essentially tells Judge Cannon to ignore Trump’s motion. From the Reply Memorandum:
“There is no basis in law or fact for proceeding in such an indeterminate and open-ended fashion, and the Defendants provide none.”
The prosecution is not interested in Trump’s political problems or that he is running for president. He is not special.
“Defendants’ claim that this Court could not select an impartial jury until after the presidential election does not justify further delay here. Resp. at 9. First and most importantly, there is no reason to credit the claim… ”
“… To be sure, the Government readily acknowledges that jury selection here may merit additional protocols (such as a questionnaire) and may be more time-consuming than in other cases, but those are reasons to start the process sooner rather than later.”
That is fantastic lawyering. Take the other side’s argument and use its absurdity to hammer home why it actually favors your proposal.
Another blow came when the prosecution addressed Trump’s suggestion that it wants to litigate the Presidential Records Act as a defense, an argument that Smith’s team said: “bordered on frivolous.”
That is an angry response in a legal filing. Prosecutors also took a little shot at Judge Cannon by noting that they have been down this road before when Trump claimed a presidential privilege, which would equate (somewhat) with the Presidential Records Act.
Cannon was rebuked harshly twice on roughly the same issue.
The prosecution also dismissed all the whining about the number of documents they had to parse. As characterized by The New York Times report:
“Prosecutors shot back, saying about a third of those pages contained unimportant ’email header and footer information’ and that a set of ‘key’ documents that would guide the defense toward the crucial sections of discovery was only about 4,500 pages.”
Trump’s lawyers also said that they would be providing the defense more unclassified documents that include transcripts obtained up to June 23rd, meaning that the prosecution continued its investigation even after filing charges.
It is possible that Smith’s team is trying to obtain the evidence it would need to file a charge of dissemination.
Dissemination of top-secret material is a charge Smith may want to keep in his back pocket in case he needs to file in New Jersey if Judge Cannon is clearly pro-Trump again.
All in all, the reply memorandum is what one would expect from lawyers with such experience and ability. But it was also angrier than one might expect.
Though, when you spend a year investigating someone before even filing charges, and the other side says don’t even set a trial date because they need a year and a half…you are going to respond angrily and expertly.
The tweet below is not from Jack Smith, but from a fake account (obviously) — but it does summarize the matter:
Our response to their motion to postpone the trial indefinitely has been filed.
You can read the document below.
Here is the summary:
— Jack E. Smith ⚖️ (@7Veritas4) July 13, 2023
Special Counsel Jack Smith, in response to Trump’s motion to delay trial, admits Presidential Records Act (the basis for NARAs demand for documents, origin of entire case) isn’t a “criminal statute” and has no authority over national defense information. pic.twitter.com/T1O2s15eve
— Julie Kelly 🇺🇸 (@julie_kelly2) July 14, 2023
I can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @JasonMiciak
Editor’s note: This is an opinion column that solely reflects the opinions of the author.
Correction: This article originally stated that Donald Trump was charged with “espionage.” More accurately, Trump is charged with violations of the Espionage Act.