Former President Donal Trump lashed out at the prosecutors leading criminal cases against him a day after Justice Department Special Counsel Jack Smith defended his investigation into Trump’s handling of classified materials against Trump’s claims that the case is politically motivated.
Trump’s lawyers previously filed a request for documents they claimed showed the basis of the investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents was “politically motivated.”
But in a 67-page response to the motion Friday, argued against the request, claiming Trump’s motion seeks records “based on speculative, unsupported, and false theories of political bias and animus.”
Smith’s team also took the unorthodox step of using the filing to lay out a lengthy rebuttal against claims of political bias, claiming Trump’s motion “paints an inaccurate and distorted picture of events” that, if unanswered, “leave a highly misleading impression on a number of matters.”
Smith argued Trump and his co-defendants “cherry-pick exhibits” and “selectively quote” from documents to put a “nefarious gloss on innocuous events” leading up to Trump’s prosecution—instead, Smith argued, Trump’s prosecution was the product of “responsible actions by government officials diligently doing their jobs” in trying to collect documents from Trump that “as a matter of law, belong to the United States.”
On Truth Social on Saturday, Trump didn’t reference the filing specifically, but reasserted claims of political bias, taking aim at “Deranged Jack Smith,” as well as the prosecutors leading other criminal cases against him, calling them “(President Joe) Biden prosecutors,” leading “Biden’s investigations for purposes of ELECTION INTERFERENCE.”
Forbes has contacted Trump’s legal team for comment.
Among other things, Trump’s legal team has argued that officials at the National Archives made a “sham” criminal referral to the Justice Department that cited communication with Biden administration officials that ultimately kicked off the prosecution. Smith’s team rejected those claims Friday, asserting the referral was “entirely consistent” with the government’s interest in retaining “national defense information.” The filing quoted Trump’s https://twitter.com/HowardMortman/status/1667118247064346626?lang=en: “In my administration, I’m going to enforce all laws concerning the protection of classified information.” Smith argued the communications between Archives officials and the Department of Justice were not suspicious because concerns about Trump’s keeping of classified records “had mounted for months.”
Trump and co-defendants Walt Nauta and Carlos De Oliveira face a slew of charges in the documents case—including 37 counts against Trump of violating the Espionage Act, conspiring to obstruct justice and lying to investigators. The case centers on Trump’s alleged storage of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago and alleged failure to cooperate with government officials who were trying to retain those documents. But Trump has long lashed out against the prosecution—and other criminal and civil cases out of Georgia and New York—as political witch hunts ahead of the 2024 presidential election. Trump faces dozens of charges across four criminal cases—in addition to the classified documents case, he’s been charged with racketeering in Georgia for his alleged efforts to pressure officials into overturning the 2020 election results. He’s also been charged in New York for allegedly covering up campaign finance violations by signing non-disclosure agreements over a hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels and charged by Smith in another federal case for allegedly disrupting official proceedings by stoking the protests that led to the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Trump’s prosecution in Georgia is facing headwinds amid allegations that the district attorney there, Fani Willis, had an inappropriate relationship with a prosecutor on the case. Willis this week admitted a personal relationship but argued it should not disqualify her from the case or affect the prosecution.
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I am a North Carolina-based reporter. Before joining Forbes, I was a reporter at Courthouse News Service and editor-in-chief of the Hamburg Sun. I am a graduate of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where I got my MS in journalism, and Boston College, where I got my BA in English. Email me at [email protected].
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