Stunning admission by Jack Smith of evidence tampering may have violated court rules

by WorldTribune Staff, May 5, 2024

Special Counsel Jack Smith’s team has admitted that key evidence in the classified documents criminal case against former President Donald was altered or manipulated since it was seized by the FBI in its raid of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence.

In a Friday court filing, Smith’s team said that the order of documents in some of the boxes of memos that were seized by the FBI in the raid were altered or jumbled, leaving two different chronologies: one that was digitally scanned and another the physical order in the boxes.

Donald Trump called on Jack Smith to drop the classified documents case following Friday’s court filing.

“Since the boxes were seized and stored, appropriate personnel have had access to the boxes for several reasons, including to comply with orders issued by this Court in the civil proceedings noted above, for investigative purposes, and to facilitate the defendants’ review of the boxes,” Smith’s team wrote in a new court filing to U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon.

“There are some boxes where the order of items within that box is not the same as in the associated scans,” the prosecutors wrote in the Friday court filing.

Smith’s team had insisted in the past that the documents remained the exact order in which they were seized.

The order of the documents is significant for Trump’s defense, which contends that it shows Trump received the boxes but was not aware they contained classified material.

Trump wrote on Truth Social: “Now, Deranged Jack has admitted in a filing in front of Judge Cannon to what I have been saying happened since the Illegal RAID on my home, Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Florida – That he and his team committed blatant Evidence Tampering by mishandling the very Boxes they used as a pretext to bring this Fake Case. These deeply Illegal actions by the Politicized ‘Persecutors’ mandate that this whole Witch Hunt be DROPPED IMMEDIATELY. END THE ‘BOXES HOAXES. MAGA2024!”

While argued that its admission should not result in a delay to the case against Trump, legal scholars said Friday’s filing could be problematic for the prosecution.

“Prosecutors and investigators should never tamper with or alter evidence in their possession, including the order of documents in a box because one never knows what may become relevant or crucial to a court or jury later in a case,” Harvard Law Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz told Just the News.

Defense attorney Tim Parlatore, who worked on Trump’s team earlier in the classified documents case but no longer is involved, said ”this admission is stunning on multiple levels” as it “reinforces the incompetence” of prosecutors “in conducting basic criminal investigations and prosecutions that I observed when I was on the team. But at a deeper level, the loss of specific document locations is a destruction of exculpatory evidence. I went through all of the boxes at NARA and the document order was important because it was clear to us that the boxes had been untouched since leaving the White House.”

Parlatore added: “For prosecutors who are trying to prove that the defendants knowingly possessed these documents to then destroy the evidence that would undermine that claim is a very serious violation.”

Your Choice