Jack Smith Pushes Court Not to Ask Jurors How They Voted in 2020

Jack Smith Pushes Court Not to Ask Jurors How They Voted in 2020
(Left) Special counsel Jack Smith in Washington on Aug. 1, 2023, (Right) former President Donald Trump in Palm Beach, Fla., on Nov. 8, 2022. (Saul Loeb, Eva Marie Uzcategui/AFP via Getty Images)

Special counsel Jack Smith this week asked the judge overseeing the Trump classified documents case to strike juror questions about who they voted for or whether they voted in the 2020 election.

In a court filing with U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, the special prosecutor’s team sought to strike down questions submitted by former President Donald Trump’s lawyers. The document contained objections from the Smith team regarding their voting record.

On page ten, the team sought to have questions such as “Are you registered to vote?” “Are you registered with a particular party?” “and, ‘Did you vote in the 2020 presidential election?'” removed from the questionnaire that would be presented to potential jurors. Those questions, according to the document, were proposed to the judge by the former president’s lawyers.

The proposal from President Trump did not specifically ask what candidate the potential juror voted for in the 2020 election—just the political party.

Another suggestion from the Trump team was to “check all that apply” from what news outlets they read and to “rank all that apply.” The special counsel’s teams wanted sections of that redacted, too.

As for the former president’s lawyers, they objected to a Smith proposal: “Have you read about or heard about the FBI’s execution of a search warrant at the Mar-a-Lago Club in August 2022?”  They also wanted this line removed: “Have you seen, read about, or heard about any statements by Mr. Trump about this investigation?”

President Trump’s attorneys also wanted to include the line, “An indictment is not evidence. It is a document that sets forth the charges made against a defendant; it is an accusation. It may not be considered as any evidence whatsoever of a defendant’s guilt. Can you think of any reason that would interfere with your ability to follow and apply this principle of law?”

Mr. Smith and his prosecutors objected to that proposal as well. They also objected to a line that sought to determine if the juror had “negative views” about a certain politician.

Later on, prosecutors objected to whether the jurors are familiar with two of President Trump’s co-defendants, Walt Nauta and Carlos de Oliveira. And they sought to have Judge Cannon strike down a question about whether the jurors own any “Trump properties.”

President Trump is facing 40 federal charges over allegations that he kept classified materials after he left the White House in 2021 and allegedly obstructed officials from having them returned to the government.

On Friday, meanwhile, Judge Cannon will hear arguments regarding when the classified documents trial should start. Mr. Smith’s team wants it to start on July 8, while the former president wants it to begin in August.

Other Activity

The special prosecutor, in replying to a court brief filed by co-defendant Mr. Nauta, requested that the court should limit FBI transcripts used against him “to specific pages and portions related to proposition for which defense cites to exhibit, incorporating the Government’s proposed redactions to those pages.”

Grand jury testimony and other FBI interviews should be entirely blocked from public view, Mr. Smith’s prosecutors added. In the filing, his team listed more than 20 sets of court documents that have to be completed sealed, redacted, or completely redacted.

Meanwhile, they are seeking to censor search warrants for Mr. Nauta’s phones as well as the names of the FBI agents who carried out the unprecedented raid targeting the former president’s home in mid-2022.

In mid-February, the former president appeared at a Florida court for a closed-door hearing to discuss the federal procedures for handling classified evidence in the trial, which is currently scheduled to begin on May 20.

“Defense counsel shall be prepared to discuss their defense theories of the case, in detail, and how any classified information might be relevant or helpful to the defense,” Judge Cannon wrote when scheduling the hearing.

In addition to the classified materials case, President Trump faces charges in Atlanta and Washington related to his efforts after the 2020 presidential election. He’s also charged in state court in New York in connection with payments during the 2016 presidential campaign.

A New York judge in February ruled that he has to pay a civil penalty of $355 million, arguing that he defrauded investors and banks over the years by allegedly over-inflating his net worth and property values. The former president has denied wrongdoing and appealed the case earlier this week.

An appellate judge later blocked parts of Judge Arthur Engoron’s ruling that prevented the former president from obtaining New York-based loans to pay his bond to appeal the case, while he allowed President Trump and his two sons to be able to do business in the state during the appeals process. However, he left the fine and the bond payment intact.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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