Former President Donald Trump has received a crucial win in his legal battle against Jack Smith, thanks to a federal judge’s ruling. The special counsel had sought to compel Trump to disclose documents pertaining to his defense strategy, specifically regarding the possibility of blaming his attorneys. Legal experts argued that such a move would infringe upon attorney-client privilege. MSNBC’s legal analyst, Katie Phang, highlighted the significance of U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon’s decision to reject this request, as it dealt a major setback to Smith.
“Judge Cannon enters an ORDER denying, without prejudice, Special Counsel’s Motion to Compel Disclosure Regarding Advice-of-Counsel Defense,” the expert said. “Cannon basically says that it’s too early in the litigation to consider forcing Donald Trump to have to disclose this information.”
Cannon’s order read, “Assuming the facts and circumstances in this case warrant an order compelling disclosure of an advice-of-counsel trial defense the Court determines that such a request is not amenable to proper consideration at this juncture, prior to at least partial resolution of pre-trial motions, transmission to Defendants of the Special Counsel’s exhibit and witness lists, and other disclosures as may become necessary.”
“In the Mar-a-Lago case, Judge Cannon has just refused to enforce a routine deadline & it’s entirely clear she has no intention of letting this case go to trial before the election or possibly ever,” she wrote.
“So I think this is the key question because Trump’s overall strategy is one of delay, get everything past the election, hope that you win, and you can resolve everything from the Oval Office in your favor. And I think it’s been a little baffling to watch some of the judges like Aileen Cannon in the Florida Mar-a-Lago related criminal prosecution, where she has been playing slow ball trying to keep that case from going anywhere,” she said last week to Phang on MSNBC.
Smith’s difficulties are not limited to this particular situation. During the recent court proceedings, one of the three federal appeals court judges raised an important query to a prosecutor from special counsel Jack Smith’s team. The question pertained to whether Donald Trump, in his capacity as president, is immune from prosecution regarding his actions related to post-2020 election challenges.
The Hill then reported that Judge Karen Henderson questioned a prosecutor with Smith’s team, “over how the panel’s decision could prevent a torrent of legal matters brought against former presidents.”
“How do we write an opinion that would stop the floodgates?” she asked.
Pearce contended that following the Watergate scandal, which implicated former President Richard Nixon, there has been a widespread acknowledgment in society that presidents can be held accountable for their actions. Despite Nixon’s resignation and lack of prosecution for his alleged involvement in the scandal, Pearce maintained that the investigations and prosecutions of Trump by the Biden administration will not result in a significant shift towards more legal actions against future presidents. Instead, he asserted that Trump’s indictments are a consequence of the extraordinary nature of the charges leveled against him.
Pearce stated that never before in our country’s history has a president claimed immunity beyond their time in office, except in this case. However, the indictments on January 6th are related to Trump’s time as president. The charges against him regarding the alleged improper retention of classified documents support Pearce’s argument, assuming that Trump’s actions violated federal law, including his broad powers to declassify documents under the Presidential Records Act.
According to The Hill, Trump’s lawyer John Sauer pushed back against Judge Florence Pan’s observation that Trump’s legal team made different arguments during his second impeachment, stating that criminal prosecution falls under the jurisdiction of the courts. Sauer responded by stating that regardless of whether a concession was made at the time or not, it has no impact because the current proceedings are distinct.