Smith combats Trump’s efforts to toss Mar-a-Lago documents case

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Special counsel Jack Smith’s team slammed a series of arguments from former President Trump seeking to toss his case involving mishandled classified records at his Florida estate, rebuffing claims he is immune from prosecution and that the documents were his personal property.

The prosecution’s five briefs come after Trump last month fired off as many motions seeking to topple the case, rehashing his claims of presidential immunity, which are now set to come before the Supreme Court, as well as others more specifically tailored to the 40-count indictment.

Smith’s team argues Judge Aileen Cannon has little to consider in weighing Trump’s claims he should be immune to prosecution for actions he took as president, noting he took all the documents after exiting office.

“The Superseding Indictment does not charge Trump for any acts that he undertook as President, let alone an official presidential act,” prosecutors wrote.

“Even though Trump lost the authority to possess documents containing national defense information after his term as President ended, he nonetheless willfully retained such documents.”

Prosecutors also spent ample time reviewing Trump’s claims that the charges should be dismissed as a “selective and vindictive” prosecution — a path that requires showing prosecutors did not bring charges against similarly situated defendants.

But Smith dismissed Trump’s claims the lack of charges for President Biden means he was unfairly targeted, noting the cases have only “superficial similarities.”

“Trump, unlike Biden, is alleged to have engaged in extensive and repeated efforts to obstruct justice and thwart the return of documents bearing classification markings, which provides particularly strong evidence of willfulness and is a paradigmatic aggravating factor that prosecutors routinely rely on when making charging decisions,” prosecutors wrote.

They also noted that special counsel Robert Hur said he failed to find evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that Biden intentionally kept the records.

“Additional distinctions—relating to the volume, sensitivity, and storage of the classified documents—further confirm that the two cases are not ‘nearly identical’ and that there are ‘legitimate reasons for viewing them differently,'” they wrote.

Trump is charged with violating the Espionage Act, which prohibits the willful retention of national defense information, as well as obstruction of justice and other charges related to his efforts to conceal them from investigators.

Smith was also dismissive of claims from Trump that the more than 300 classified records found among a significant tranche of other records from his presidency constitute personal records under the Presidential Records Act.

“The charged documents are indisputably presidential, not personal, and Trump offers no basis to conclude otherwise,” his team wrote.

Finally, Smith’s team attacked Trump’s arguments that he is facing an unconditionally vague prosecution.

“Trump is charged with the unauthorized possession and willful retention of national defense information. The statute’s prohibitions are clear. And as a former President, Trump could not have failed to understand the paramount importance of protecting the Nation’s national-security and military secrets, including the obligations not to take unauthorized possession of, or willfully retain, national defense information,” prosecutors wrote.

“Trump’s actions are paradigmatic violations of [the Espionage Act] and there is nothing vague about the application of the statute to him.”

The filings come as the court is likewise weighing a rescheduling of the May 20 trial.

Trump has asked to delay the trial until after the November election, while Smith’s team suggested a July trial.

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