Special Counsel Jack Smith Demands Judge to Block FBI Interviews in Trump Case

Special counsel Jack Smith has submitted a court motion requesting a judge to prevent several FBI interviews and keep the identities of potential witnesses confidential in the classified documents case involving former President Donald Trump.

The special prosecutor responded to a court filing by Walt Nauta, a co-defendant in the case. Nauta, along with the former president and his Mar-a-Lago manager, Carlos de Oliveira, faces charges in the case, and all three have pleaded not guilty.

President Trump is confronting 40 federal charges for purportedly retaining classified materials after he left the White House in 2021 and allegedly impeding officials from returning them to the government.

On Tuesday, Mr. Smith’s team stated that the court should restrict the FBI transcripts “to specific pages and portions related to proposition for which defense cites to exhibit, incorporating the Government’s proposed redactions to those pages.”

Mr. Smith’s prosecutors further argued that grand jury testimony and other FBI interviews should be completely blocked from public access.

In the court filing, his team listed over 20 sets of court documents that need to be fully sealed, redacted, or entirely withheld from public disclosure.

Part of the filing stated that those materials must be redacted for “witness safety” concerns, as they include the names of potential witnesses and references to other “non-public potential” government witness testimony and names.

At the same time, they are attempting to censore search warrants for Mr. Nauta’s phones, as well as the identities of the FBI agents who conducted the unprecedented raid on the former president’s home in mid-2022.

The Smith team recently stated that Mr. De Oliveira and Mr. Nauta should not be granted access to classified materials relevant to the case.

On Tuesday, Judge Aileen Cannon determined that the special prosecutor has met the requirement to keep these materials sealed from the two individuals, although the former president will retain access.

“The Special Counsel has made a sufficient showing that Defendant Nauta and De Oliveira’s personal review of the materials produced in classified discovery would not be ‘relevant and helpful’ to their defense,” the judge wrote in an order.

Her court is “without any reasonably concrete example of a classified document, or documents, the substance of which appear helpful to either Defendant Nauta or De Oliveira in defending against the … charges against them,” she added.

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President Trump’s lawyers recently motioned for the dismissal of the case, citing presidential immunity as a shield from prosecution. They contended that designating classified documents as “personal” records under the Presidential Records Act constituted an official act while Trump was in office, hence barring prosecution.

Additionally, Trump attended a closed-door hearing in mid-February in Florida to discuss federal procedures for handling classified evidence pertinent to the trial, scheduled to commence on May 20.

Earlier this year, Trump’s legal team insisted on prosecutors disclosing information regarding “temporary secure locations” at Mar-a-Lago and other Trump properties.

They argued that this data would refute claims of insecurity at Mar-a-Lago and demonstrate Secret Service measures to secure the residences.

Judge Cannon has set a trial date for May 20, 2024, with indications of potential postponement.

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By Hunter Fielding
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