by Katelynn Richardson
Special Counsel Jack Smith asked Judge Aileen Cannon on Thursday to reconsider her decision to unseal certain documents prosecutors wanted to keep from the public docket.
Cannon, who is overseeing the classified documents case against former President Donald Trump in Florida, ruled Tuesday that certain discovery material Smith wanted to keep under seal because it could impact the safety of potential witnesses would be disclosed out of the “strong presumption of public access in criminal proceedings.” Smith urged Cannon to reconsider her decision, arguing that she “applied the wrong legal standard and issued orders that, in practice, will expose witnesses and others to intolerable and needless risks.”
If made public, Smith (pictured above) wrote that the discovery material would “disclose the identities of numerous potential witnesses, along with the substance of the statements they made to the FBI or the grand jury, exposing them to significant and immediate risks of threats, intimidation, and harassment.”
Special counsel’s office is pleading with Cannon to reverse to recent unsealing decisions they say would identify two dozen witnesses an expose them to threats.
They say Cannon’s rulings were “clear error” — defying 11th circuit precedent — and would cause ‘manifest injustice’ pic.twitter.com/htZRANwNvm
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) February 9, 2024
“Reconsideration is also warranted because, even under the legal standard that the Court applied, it would be a manifest injustice to release the identities and statements of the witnesses in this case,” the filing states. “There is a well-documented pattern in which judges, agents, prosecutors, and witnesses involved in cases involving Trump have been subject to threats, harassment, and intimidation.”
The filing argues that concerns about witness safety and intimidation “are far from speculative,” citing a list of people who have been allegedly put at risk through their involvement in one of Trump’s cases.
“The presiding district judge in the election case received a racist death threat; the Special Counsel and his staff have been subject to threats and harassment; the chambers of the justice presiding over the civil fraud case in New York ‘have been inundated with hundreds of harassing and threatening phone calls, voicemails, emails, letters, and packages’; and potential witnesses against him are routinely subject to the sort of threats that ‘pose a significant and imminent threat to individuals’ willingness to participate fully and candidly in the process, to the content of their testimony and evidence, and to the trial’s essential truth-finding function,’” the filing states.
Canon issued her order on the same day the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals declined to dismiss Trump’s separate election interference case based on presidential immunity.
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Katelynn Richardson is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.