Jack Smith Has A Habit Of Trying To Shield Trump Case Info From The Public

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Special counsel Jack Smith motioned Wednesday to file a proposed jury questionnaire under seal until jury selection is complete, continuing a pattern of attempting to shield information about his prosecution of former President Donald Trump from the public.

Smith argued Wednesday that sealing the questionnaire is required to allow the soliciting of “unprejudiced and unvarnished information and opinions from potential jurors” to ensure “integrity of a fair jury selection process.” Previously, Smith has sought to file other documents under seal or otherwise shield information from the public, from fighting to prevent cameras in the court to obtaining a non-disclosure order on his warrant for Trump’s Twitter account.

“[T]he publicity surrounding this case creates a substantial risk that the draft questionnaire will be widely publicized in this district, along with advice or instructions as to how the questions should be answered,” Smith argued Wednesday regarding the questionnaire.

Smith also filed on Wednesday a 23-page motion requesting dozens of redactions on certain filings made by Trump.

“Much of the information the Government seeks to protect would reveal the identities of potential witnesses and key portions of the testimony they would provide,” the filing states.

“Last, there is a subset of documents Trump seeks to use that are part of a grand jury proceeding that remains under seal in the District of Columbia,” it continues. “For all of this information, good cause exists to keep it outside the public realm.”

Judge Aileen Cannon earlier this month denied earlier this month Smith’s request to keep information that would “disclose the identities of numerous potential witnesses” off the public docket. Cannon wrote that there is a “strong presumption of public access in criminal proceedings.” (RELATED: Jack Smith Makes Another Push To Keep Documents Under Seal)

Cannon responded to Smith’s request to seal certain briefing information last August by writing he had failed to “satisfy the burden of establishing a sufficient legal or factual basis to warrant sealing.”

In a January filing, Smith noted the government “supports full transparency of the record consistent with witness safety, national security, and the court’s protective order.”

In Trump’s Jan. 6 case in Washington, D.C., Smith objected to Trump’s decision to back media outlets’ request to televise his trial, noting that the Judicial Conference has “long rejected” broadcasting criminal trials. Trump wrote in November that prosecutors were working to “continue this travesty in darkness,” and Smith fired back that Trump was trying to “create a carnival atmosphere from which he hopes to profit by distracting, like many fraud defendants try to do, from the charges against him.”

Smith likewise obtained a nondisclosure order along with his warrant for Trump’s Twitter account, which prevented Twitter from notifying anyone about the warrant.

In November, a federal judge rejected a request by media groups and X to unseal records prosecutors filed in applying to obtain the warrant.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) also sought to conceal the names of top staff in special counsel Jack Smith’s office in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by Judicial Watch.

The special counsel’s office declined to comment.

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