Jack Smith Blasts Judge Cannon's Request For Jury Instructions

Special counsel Jack Smith said in court filings late last night that Judge Aileen Cannon had ordered briefings based on a “fundamentally flawed” understanding of the case that has “no basis in law or fact.” Via CNN.com:

Smith’s team harshly critiqued Cannon’s request for jury instructions that embraced Trump’s claims that he had broad authority to take classified government documents and said it would seek an appeals court review if she accepted the former president’s arguments about his record-retention powers.

In an unusual order last month, Cannon asked attorneys on the classified documents case to submit briefs on potential jury instructions defining terms of the Espionage Act, under which Trump is charged over mishandling 32 classified records. Specifically, Cannon asked the special counsel and defense attorneys to write two versions of proposed jury instructions.

The first scenario would instruct a jury to assess whether each of the records that Trump is accused of retaining fell into the categories of “personal” or “presidential” as laid out by the Presidential Records Act, a post-Watergate law that governs how White House records belonging to the government are to be handled at the end of a presidency.

The second version Cannon asked for assumes that as president, Trump had complete authority to take records he wanted from the White House, which would make it nearly impossible for prosecutors to secure a conviction. If she were to institute this sort of instruction, Smith’s team said, “the Government must be provided with an opportunity to seek prompt appellate review.”

You know where her second theory comes from? Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton, who is not a lawyer but an English major.

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