Special counsel Jack Smith’s team made a startling admission in its case against former President Donald Trump, acknowledging in a new court filing that it failed to turn over all evidence to Mr. Trump’s legal team as required by law and falsely claimed that it had.
Mr. Smith’s team said in a July 31 court filing (pdf) in its classified documents case against the former president that it had incorrectly claimed during a July 18 court hearing that it had provided all Mar-a-Lago surveillance footage to Mr. Trump’s defense attorneys, as required by law.
“On July 27, as part of the preparation for the superseding indictment coming later that day and the discovery production for Defendant De Oliveira, the Government learned that this footage had not been processed and uploaded to the platform established for the defense to view the subpoenaed footage,” Mr. Smith’s team wrote in the July 31 filing.
“The Government’s representation at the July 18 hearing that all surveillance footage the Government had obtained pre-indictment had been produced was therefore incorrect.”
Under what is called the Brady rule, prosecutors in a criminal trial have a constitutional duty to disclose all evidence to a defendant’s legal team, including information that is favorable to the accused and could reduce a potential sentence.
Mr. Smith’s team accused Mr. Trump in a new “superseding indictment” (pdf) filed on July 27 of conspiring with his staff to delete some security footage so that the grand jury in the case would not see all the evidence.
The Department of Justice didn’t immediately return a request for comment from The Epoch Times.
Trump Denies Deleting Tapes
In the superseding indictment, the special counsel charged Mr. Trump with willful retention of national defense information and two charges in connection to claims that he allegedly told a Mar-a-Lago worker to delete security tapes to prevent a grand jury from seeing them.
Mar-a-Lago staffer Carlos De Oliveira has been named as a third defendant in the superseding indictment, along with Trump aide Walt Nauta and the former commander-in-chief.
Mr. Trump took to his social media platform to deny the new charges, claiming that Mr. Smith’s new allegation is false and tantamount to election interference ahead of the 2024 contest.
“THE SECURITY TAPES BEING DELETED WAS A MADE UP LIE BY DERANGED JACK SMITH! ELECTION INTERFERENCE,” Mr. Trump wrote in all caps in a post on Truth Social on Aug. 1.
In the superseding indictment, prosecutors allege that Mr. De Oliveira told another Mar-a-Lago employee that “the boss” wanted a server “deleted” on June 27, 2022. That came about two months before FBI agents raided the Palm Beach resort owned by the former president, uncovering allegedly classified documents in a storage area.
Mr. Trump has said he used presidential authority to declassify all the relevant documents in the case against him and has denied that he hid any materials from the government.
In a statement following the July 27 announcement of a superseding indictment and new charges, Mr. Trump’s campaign said that the new allegations were part of a “continued desperate and flailing attempt” to harass the former president.
“Deranged Jack Smith knows that they have no case and is casting about for any way to salvage their illegal witch hunt and to get someone other than Donald Trump to run against Crooked Joe Biden,” the campaign team wrote.
An average of polling data compiled by RealClear Politics shows a very close matchup between President Joe Biden and Mr. Trump, with the former enjoying a lead of 0.9 percentage points.
Mr. Smith’s superseding indictment increases the total number of charges in the classified materials case to 40.
Other Trump Cases
The former president, who is the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, is involved in a number of legal disputes.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland is investigating Mr. Trump’s role in actions surrounding his challenges to the 2020 presidential election that culminated in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol breach. Mr. Trump said his attorneys met with U.S. Justice Department officials on July 27 a sign that charges could come soon.
Mr. Smith has accused Mr. Trump of unlawfully keeping classified national security documents when he left office in 2021 and of lying to officials who tried to recover them.
Mr. Trump, on June 13, pleaded not guilty to those charges, which include alleged violations of the Espionage Act, which criminalizes unauthorized possession of defense information.
A New York grand jury has indicted Mr. Trump for allegedly falsifying business records in connection with a payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels before the 2016 presidential election.
Also in New York, Mr. Trump faces a civil lawsuit brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James, alleging fraud.