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Chief Prosecutor Vows Appeal Amid Dispute Over Trump’s Ownership of Classified Records

The central issue continues brewing concerning Trump’s ownership of classified records as series of legal battles and appeals determine the course of the trial, which is caught up in the claims of political motivation.



Chief Prosecutor Vows Appeal Amid Dispute Over Trump's Ownership of Classified Records
Chief Prosecutor Vows Appeal Amid Dispute Over Trump's Ownership of Classified Records. Credit | REUTERS

United States – The chief prosecutor for the case, who charged Donald Trump with keeping already classified records after his tenure as President, pushed back after a judge hinted at the possibility of accepting Trump’s assertion that all records belong to him personally, as reported by Reuters.

Special Counsel to Appeal Potential Ruling

U.S. Special Counsel Jack Smith states in a court filing released late Tuesday that he plans to appeal any ruling by U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon that grants Trump the jury’s instruction on his so-called “fundamentally flawed legal premise.”

Trump’s Plea of Not Guilty

Trump, a Republican challenging incumbent Democratic President Joe Biden in the November 5 election, had pleaded not guilty to a 40-count indictment charging him of illegally keeping secret documents he was not supposed to. The indictment also claimed that he had obstructed government efforts to get back the classified documents, which were required after he left office in 2021.

Interpretation of Presidential Records Act

Cannon, who was selected to the bench by Trump, claims that she is willing to heed Trump’s claim that he was personally handling the documents according to the 1978 Presidential Records Act, which allows any former president the power to own records that have no connection to his official responsibilities.

The judicial officials have asserted that these papers exceed the bounds of individual issues and deal with defense and intelligence problems, including details about the U.S. nuclear program.

On March 18, the judge wanted the prosecution and defense to add jury instructions based on two legal scenarios, the possible effect of which would be whether Trump’s argument would make it to trial.

The prosecutors say a single possibility by which the jury and the judge cannot inquire into Trump’s assertions that the records are related to his private life would instruct the jury to acquit Trump pointedly. They suggested that Cannon needs to resolve the question of whether jurors should be instructed that Trump’s claim is relevant to the case or not, as they would need that done quickly so that they can weigh appellate review points.

The reply stated that Cannon’s order was based on an erroneous legal basis and designed to “distort the trial.”

This is only one of four criminal cases involving Donald Trump. He pleaded not guilty in all of the cases and accused them of being politically motivated.

Political Motivation

Trump’s lawyers on Tuesday night referred in their filing with the court to the President’s personal appeal, which they call, and suggest that the charges should be thrown out before trial.

The Presidential Record Act was passed to ensure that the government of the U.S. owned copies of documents produced by a president’s administration. It also allows former presidents to keep some of their private records, including those that are irrelevant to the administration.

According to him, the materials he did convey to his Mar-a-Lago Estate in Florida were just his personal stuff. Prosecutors have a stance that the Records Act does not permit a former president to retain intelligence materials.

Espionage Act Charges

Trump stands accused of the titles of the Espionage Act, which literally means unauthorized possession of defense information and conspiracy to obstruct justice, as reported by Reuters.

It is widely anticipated that the case’s scheduled trial on May 20 will be rescheduled.

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Trump Seeks Supreme Court Attention in Bid for Immunity

High-Stakes Legal Battle Looms as Supreme Court Considers Trump’s Bid for Immunity, Pitting Presidential Accountability Against Executive Power.




Trump Seeks Supreme Court Attention in Bid for Immunity

United States – On Tuesday, Donald Trump sought the attention of the Supreme Court by filing a brief that demonstrates his firm belief that a former president is immune from criminal prosecution. He believes that a former president has “absolute immunity” for political and official acts of his term.

Trump’s Firm Belief

The argument will happen on April 25. Trump has prosecuted an appeal from the lower court’s rejection of his request to be protected from a criminal case being carried out by Special Counsel Jack Smith since he was serving in office when he committed acts that have landed him in this predicament, as reported by Reuters.

The filing has made the same arguments as the ones Trump’s lawyers have made earlier and mimics Trump’s remarks on the campaign trail as he wants to conquer the presidency again.

The filing said, “The president cannot function, and the presidency itself cannot retain its vital independence if the president faces criminal prosecution for official acts once he leaves office.”

In the US election on November 5, Republican candidate Trump—the first former president to face criminal charges—will face Democratic nominee Joe Biden. 2020 saw Biden defeat Trump.

“A denial of criminal immunity would incapacitate every future president with de facto blackmail and extortion while in office and condemn him to years of post-office trauma at the hands of political opponents. The threat of future prosecution and imprisonment would become a political cudgel to influence the most sensitive and controversial presidential decisions, taking away the presidency’s strength, authority, and decisiveness,” according to Trump’s filing.

Special Counsel’s Push for Trial

Smith was named as the US Attorney General Merrick Garland’s nominee in November 2022. In August 2023, Smither charged four federal counts against Trump, implicating him in four criminal activities: participating in the election fraud, obstructing the congressional certification of Biden’s electoral victory, and conspiring to take a step towards preventing Americans from having the right to vote.

In a recent brief filed with the justices in February, Smith essentially pleaded that the president cannot be immune to litigation at all times.

“The nation has a compelling interest in seeing the charges brought to trial,” Smith said in the filing, adding that “the public interest in a prompt trial is at its zenith where, as here, a former president is charged with conspiring to subvert the electoral process so that he could remain in office.”


Trump’s criminal accusations, according to Smith, are an attempt to “maintain himself in power and prevent the actual winner of last year’s presidential election from taking office.” The alleged offenses are fundamental to our democracy.”

The Supreme Court’s decision to hear arguments on Trump’s immunity bid next month delayed the trial, yet it enabled him to gain some time and so he can try to make the prosecution difficult until he runs for the presidency again. Trump faces three other outstanding criminal trials as well. He has pleaded not guilty in all four cases, arguing that his political affiliations may have influenced all of these cases.

Trump, in October of last year, attempted to have all the charges dismissed as per his asserting immunity. A US District Judge turned down the allegation in December.

The DC Circuit, in a Feb. 6, 3-0 decision, agreed with the judges against Donald Trump’s immunity claim, saying such a claim would give him “unbounded authority to commit crimes that would neutralize the most fundamental check on executive power—the recognition and implementation of election results.”

The case again puts the nation’s highest judiciary body, which has a majority of 6-3 conservative members, three of whom are appointed by Trump, in the center of the political arena.

Political Context and Ramifications

Trump and his crew fabricated false claims that the election of 2020 was taken away, and they also schemed a way of using the fake electors to avoid the certification of Biden’s victory by Congress. Moreover, Trump attempted to coerce the Vice president at that time, Mr. Mike Pence, not to let the certification continue. On January 6, 2021, the Trump haters broke into the United States Capitol as they were fighting for accreditation, as reported by Reuters.

In the event that Trump wins back the president, he might try to use his influence to stop the prosecution or even to grant himself a pardon for any federal offenses.


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