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Tags: donald trump | jack smith | florida | documents

Unsealed Docs: Jack Smith Alleged More Trump Obstruction

By    |   Tuesday, 21 May 2024 03:16 PM EDT

Jack Smith, the special counsel investigating former President Donald Trump, suspected he was making additional efforts to obstruct the government's probe into his handling of classified documents kept at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, an unsealed court filing released Tuesday shows.

The filings, released ahead of hearings set for Wednesday in connection with Trump's aide Walt Nauta's push to dismiss charges against him, show that in March 2023, while prosecutors in the case were pushing a federal judge to compel one of Trump's attorneys, Evan Cocoran, to testify, they presented steps they thought the former president and his associates were taking to obstruct the investigation, reports ABC News.

Newsmax has reached out to Trump officials for further comment on the document release.

One of the filings concerns Smith's team alleging that after Trump's attorney informed him about the government subpoena for video footage from Mar-a-Lago, Trump ordered aides to return boxes that they had taken out of a storage room in the club's basement, but without being shown on camera.

"The government urged that this scramble to Mar-a-Lago in the wake of the June 24, 2022, phone call reflects the former president's realization that the removal of the boxes from the storage room before [redacted] search was captured on camera, and his attempts to ensure that any subsequent movement of the boxes back to the storage room could occur off camera," Washington, D.C., District Court Judge Beryl Howell wrote in the opinion.

Howell added that the theory "draws support from the curious absence of any video footage showing the return of the remaining boxes to the storage room, which necessarily occurred at some point between June 3, 2022 — when the room had approximately [redacted] boxes, according to FBI agents and [redacted] — and the execution of the search warrant on August 8, 2022 — when agents counted 73 boxes."

The filing also revealed that the government had forced Trump's attorneys to search his properties after the FBI's search of his Florida estate in August 2022, reports Forbes.

Howell noted that during subsequent searches by Trump lawyers at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster, Trump Tower, and other locations in addition to Mar-a-Lago, additional materials were found at an off-site office, at Mar-a-Lago, and at a storage unit.

The judge added that a box containing classified materials were found in a closet at Mar-a-Lago and that "one empty folder and another mostly empty folder marked "Classified Evening Summary'" were found in Trump's bedroom.

"No excuse is provided as to how the former president could miss the classified-marked documents found in his own bedroom at Mar-a-Lago," Howell said.

Howell also found that the government "sufficiently demonstrated" that Trump had violated the obstruction statute after someone "intentionally concealed the existence of additional documents bearing classification markings" from his lawyers.

Last June, Trump pleaded not guilty to 37 counts related to the handling of classified materials after his presidency ended. Prosecutors accused him of refusing to return the documents and of taking steps to stop the government from getting the items back. Nauta has also pleaded not guilty of related charges.

Howell agreed that the prosecution had "likely" shown that Trump ordered the associates to "avoid the surveillance cameras he then understood to have been deputized by the government."

The judge further ordered Corcoran to testify about a June 24, 2022, phone call he had with the former president occurring on the same day the Trump Organization had been subpoenaed for the video footage.

Several other exhibits were ordered to be unsealed Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, who is overseeing Trump's criminal trial in Florida.

Cannon over the weekend criticized Smith for what she said are inconsistent positions on the need to seal evidence in the ongoing case.

Sandy Fitzgerald

Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics. 

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


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Jack Smith, the special counsel investigating former President Donald Trump, suspected he was making additional efforts to obstruct the government's probe into his handling of classified documents kept at his Mar-a-Lago estate.
donald trump, jack smith, florida, documents
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2024-16-21
Tuesday, 21 May 2024 03:16 PM
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