Special counsel Jack Smith urged the judge overseeing former President Donald Trump’s election interference case not to allow him to tell the jury the prosecution is politically motivated.
Trump’s claim that the indictment “was directed by the current president as a form of election interference” is both wrong and irrelevant, Smith argued in a 20-page filing, telling Judge Tanya Chutkan they would be “prejudicial if presented to the jury.” Smith also asked Chutkan to bar Trump from introducing evidence relating to agency preparation for and responses to Jan. 6, undercover agents at the Capitol and allegations of foreign influence.
“Following his indictment in this District, the defendant has made unsupported and politicized claims of selective and vindictive prosecution, indicated that he intends to explore irrelevant issues related to the Government’s investigation, and complained that the grand jury’s indictment and the Court’s trial date will interfere with his political activities,” the filing states. “None of these issues goes to the defendant’s guilt or innocence; all of them should be excluded.”
Smith filed the motion Wednesday despite Chutkan’s Dec. 13 order pausing proceedings until Trump’s presidential immunity appeal is resolved. Chutkan denied Trump’s bid to dismiss his case based on presidential immunity in early December, prompting his appeal to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which will hear oral arguments on the issue Jan. 9.
Among other things Smith wants Trump barred from raising to the jury:
-Agency prep for Jan. 6
-Undercover agents in J6 crowd
-Alleged foreign influence in 2020
-Cross-examination Qs to witnesses that might infringe on valid privileges. pic.twitter.com/xlowBFJj6A
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) December 27, 2023
The Supreme Court on Friday denied Smith’s attempt to circumvent the appeals court and have the justices rule on the issue without the lower court weighing in first. (RELATED: Dems Seek To ‘Affect The Outcome’ Of Key 2024 Cases Through Public Pressure On SCOTUS, Legal Experts Say)
Smith also asked the judge to prevent Trump’s lawyers from using cross-examination to elicit “protected information” from witnesses without receiving clearance in advance.
“Allowing the defendant to question witnesses about information for which a witness either must or would be likely to assert a privilege—in open court, in front of the jury—runs the risk of unfairly and improperly suggesting to the jury that the witness lacks candor and presenting to the jury otherwise inadmissible evidence,” he wrote.
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