Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

Judge questioned how Trump didn’t notice classified docs in bedroom

By 37ci3 May22,2024


The judge overseeing special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into Donald Trump’s detention classified notes He questioned how the former president didn’t realize there were highly sensitive documents in his Florida bedroom, a newly unsealed indictment shows.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell in March 2023 came after Trump’s lawyers told authorities in June that there were no classified files at his residence and after the FBI found in December 2022 Trump’s Mar-a-Lago mansion in Palm Beach. refers to documents. executed a search warrant More than 100 in August confidential documents – some marked “secret” and “top secret”.

The search warrant documents were found after Trump’s lawyer, Timothy Parlatore, arranged for staff to sweep Trump’s properties to make sure there were no other sensitive documents. The Justice Department subpoenaed Trump in May 2022 for the return of such records.

This image, which appears in the indictment against former President Donald Trump, shows the contents of a storage room at Trump's Mar-a-Lago mansion in Palm Beach on Dec. 7, 2021.  to the floor.  Trump faces 37 felony counts of mishandling classified documents, according to an indictment unsealed Friday, June 9, 2023.
Trump is pictured in the indictment on Dec. 7, 2021, in a storage room at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago mansion in Palm Beach that overturned and spilled its contents. Department of Justice via AP file

“To be sure, the government has not presented direct evidence that the former president knowingly withheld or was aware of the specially classified documents found by his attorney at Mar-a-Lago in December 2022,” Howell wrote. decision.

But “in particular,” he added, “there is no excuse as to how the former president could have missed the classified documents found in his bedroom at Mar-a-Lago.”

The bedroom items were “one empty folder and another empty folder marked ‘Classified Evening Summary,'” he said. During the inspection, as he said, four more documents, misleadingly called “low-level ministerial documents”, were also revealed.

“To be clear, four papers responded to the May 2022 call,” Howell wrote.

Howell noted in the ruling that granted the prosecution’s request to question two of Trump’s lawyers using a criminal fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege, some discussions with Trump were seen as furthering the crime.

That was the essence of the decision previously reported, but an unsealed version of the ruling provided fresh details about how Howell reached his decision. His decision was sealed as part of Trump’s efforts to have the case dismissed.

Howell, who was nominated to the bench by President Barack Obama, was the chief judge of the Washington federal court when he made the decision. The chief justice is overseeing the sealed grand jury proceeding in Washington, D.C., on which Smith’s investigation into classified Trump documents is based.

Trump was later indicted in federal court in Florida, where the alleged crimes were committed. Trump’s nominee, U.S. District Judge Eileen Cannon, ultimately ended the case.

Howell’s sentencing last year came after it found the government presented “sufficient evidence” to show Trump used his lawyers as “instrumentalists.”[y]’ or ‘front m[a]n’ obstructing the government’s investigation and continuing the illegal retention of any classified documents by the former president.”

He also found himself receiving legal advice and assistance from Trump lawyers Evan Corcoran and Christina Bobb can be “abuse”.

Prosecutors argued that Corcoran’s search for the subpoenaed documents was too narrow, based on Trump’s misrepresentations, and that Bobb signed a warrant for the search in June 2022 and no other documents remain.

Howell quoted prosecutors as describing a “shell game” in which documents were removed from places Corcoran looked at.

Prosecutors have “sufficiently demonstrated” that Trump obstructed the search, Howell wrote, “by presenting evidence that the former president intentionally concealed the existence of additional classified documents” and that “such deception would result in an unwitting misrepresentation to the government.”

Trump faces dozens of serious crimes in the case, including willful withholding of national defense information, false statements and representations, conspiracy to obstruct justice, concealment of a document or record, and corrupt concealment of a document. He pleaded not guilty and denied any wrongdoing.

The case was scheduled to go to trial in federal court in Florida this week, but Cannon postponed it indefinitely this month due to “numerous” legal issues he said he still needs to resolve.

Trump claimed that the case should be dismissed due to “prosecutor misconduct”.



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