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Secret documents: The special prosecutor is running out of patience

Secret documents: The special prosecutor is running out of patience

The most loyal readers of this blog will remember the latest antics of Florida judge Eileen Cannon in charge of Donald Trump's trial in the secret documents case. Even before a trial date was set, a Trump-appointed judge asked both sides to help craft instructions for jurors on a case that has stunned many legal experts.

To understand what's going on, you need to know that Trump's lawyers are arguing that their client cannot be prosecuted for moving a trove of classified documents from the White House to Mar-a-Lago after his presidency because he made it a personal priority under Trump. Presidential Records Act.

According to most jurists, this argument is absurd for two reasons: 1) The Presidential Archives Act does not allow a former president to turn to personal property documents resulting from his presidency, and even less classified documents; 2) Trump is not being prosecuted under the Presidential Records Act but under the Espionage Act.

Judge Cannon's critics worry that her eccentricity masks a desire to provide jurors or herself with a reason to acquit Trump. In his response to the judge's request, special prosecutor Jack Smith did not go that far on Tuesday. But he made no secret of his impatience and frustration, saying the judge's proposed instructions to the jury were based on a “fundamentally flawed legal premise.”

“The discrimination he made [Loi sur les archives présidentielles] “Between Personal Documents and Presidential Documents has no bearing on whether a former President's possession of documents containing national defense information is permitted under the Espionage Act and the Security Act. The Presidential Archives should play no role in the instructions provided to the jury.” Smith insists in a A 24-page document. “Indeed, based on the current record, the Presidential Records Act should play no role in the trial.”

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The special prosecutor adds: “It would be pure fiction to suggest that top-secret documents created by members of the intelligence community and the military and provided to the President of the United States during his term were ‘strictly private.’”

The special prosecutor is asking the judge to forget her request for jury instructions and decide for herself whether the Presidential Records Act protects Trump from prosecution over the transfer of classified documents from the White House to Mar-a-Lago. If you agree with Trump, he says he wants to resume as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, many jurists are tearing their hair out not only because the Trump lawyer's argument should have been rejected by the judge long ago, but also because so many other, equally important questions are piling up on her desk without her making a decision.

But why doesn't Jack Smith ask Judge Cannon to step down and, if she refuses, ask the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit to force her to do so? Because he must be able to rely on questionable or wrong decisions to justify his request. But so far the judge has not made any decision.

Kafkaesque, you say?

(Getty Images)