Mar-a-lago Judge Urged To Correct ‘clear Error’ Or Face Appeal, Warns Jack Smith

Mocobizscene – Judge Aileen Cannon (left) participated in a Senate Judiciary Committee oversight nomination hearing on July 29, 2020 (U.S. Senate via AP), while Special Counsel Jack Smith (right) addressed an indictment against former President Donald Trump on August 1, 2023, at a Department of Justice office in Washington (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin).

The Special Counsel’s Office has filed a late Wednesday document in support of reconsidering a crucial ruling. They have emphasized that attorneys representing Donald Trump are engaging in a risky strategy by demanding the disclosure of all witnesses involved in his Mar-a-Lago prosecution.

Special Counsel Jack Smith has urged U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon to rectify what he deems as a “clear error” and prevent a “manifest injustice”. In a written statement, Smith emphasizes the significant risk of “harassment and retaliation” that would inevitably arise from the public release of government witness names and their testimonies in the case.

In early February, Cannon made a ruling that was influenced by Trump lawyers’ motion to compel discovery, according to Smith. Cannon stated that the Special Counsel’s Office did not provide enough factual or legal basis to justify deviating from the strong presumption of public access to the records in question.

In regards to witness safety and intimidation concerns, Cannon, a Trump appointee, recognized that they can be a valid reason to override the strong presumption in favor of public access. However, Smith has further emphasized that these concerns not only meet the “good cause” standard but also exceed the heightened standard set by the Court.

The special counsel disagreed with the Trump team’s argument and the court’s acceptance of the heightened standard. According to the special counsel, this standard was incorrect both in terms of procedure and substance.

In the opinion of Smith, the Court’s conclusion that the Government failed to meet a heightened First Amendment standard to protect materials under a protective order was due to procedural and substantive missteps. Smith asserts that despite the Court’s reasoning, this conclusion was clearly incorrect, and the response from the defendants does not provide any evidence to the contrary.

According to Smith, U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart accurately established the appropriate standard at the beginning of the Trump prosecution. Reinhart stated that the “public and the media have a qualified right of access to judicial proceedings that can be overcome by a showing of good cause.”

The special counsel has urged the judge to refrain from unnecessarily revealing the identities of multiple witnesses, agents, and third parties. According to the special counsel, the First Amendment does not require such disclosure.

In his final statement, the special counsel expressed his intention to appeal if Cannon rejects his request for redactions and sealing.

Smith filed a request on Wednesday, asking for the removal or sealing of specific information in defense filings and exhibits. He argued that Trump’s lawyers showed a lack of empathy and concern for the safety and well-being of witnesses if their identities were made public during the defense’s search for information.

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