Jack Smith Stunned by Aileen Cannon’s Question

During the hearing on Friday, Judge Aileen Cannon posed a question to the Department of Justice’s Special Counsel Jack Smith regarding the witness list in the case against former President Donald Trump involving classified documents. This question took Smith by surprise.

Accusations have been made against Trump regarding his mishandling of presidential records. Upon leaving office, he retained these records, and when the FBI discovered classified material during a raid at his Mar-a-Lago home in August 2022, he allegedly obstructed the government’s attempts to retrieve them.

In June 2023, a federal grand jury indicted him on 37 counts, and in July 2023, he faced additional charges in a superseding indictment. Despite the accusations, the former president maintains his innocence and pleads not guilty to all counts. He asserts that the case is politically motivated, citing his status as the leading candidate for the GOP in the upcoming 2024 presidential election.

During a pre-trial hearing in Florida on Friday, Judge Cannon inquired about the timing of the prosecution’s release of the witness list to Smith.

In June of last year, Cannon refused the Department of Justice’s request to maintain the confidentiality of the list of 84 potential witnesses. ABC News Senior Reporter Katherine Faulders revealed that when Cannon questioned Smith about the list, Smith appeared visibly shocked at the possibility of the list being made public.

During the hearing, Cannon emphasized the importance of prioritizing the safety of the witnesses. However, she also expressed her concerns regarding Smith’s unprecedented attempt to redact all of their statements from the public record.

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David Harbach, a prosecutor in Smith’s case, informed Cannon that there will come a time when the identities of the witnesses will be disclosed to the public, but that time is not now.

According to Harbach, Smith plans to present approximately 40 witnesses to testify during the trial.

Newsweek contacted the Department of Justice (DOJ) through an online form and reached out to Trump’s attorney via email for their comments.

Trump, along with his co-defendants Walt Nauta and Carlos De Oliveira, have been prohibited from engaging in any discussions regarding the case with potential witnesses. Nauta, who has been Trump’s personal aide, and De Oliveira, listed as Mar-a-Lago’s property manager in court documents, have both entered pleas of not guilty to the charges they are facing.

No rulings were issued by Cannon during the hearing. A trial date has not yet been set by her. Smith’s team has requested for the trial to commence on July 8, while Trump’s team is advocating for the trial to take place after the November election.

“We strongly believe that conducting a trial before the election would be a mistake and should be avoided,” expressed Todd Blanche, attorney for President Trump. “The most straightforward approach is to commence this trial after the election.”

Despite this, the defense has proposed to commence jury selection on August 12. It should be noted that Trump attended the hearing on Friday, although there was no interaction between him and Smith, as reported by CNN.

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