Federal Judge Rejects Special Prosecutor’s Attempt to Uncover Trump’s Legal Strategy in RICO Case

TAMPA, Fla. – A federal judge appointed by former President Donald Trump has rejected special prosecutor Jack Smith’s attempt to compel Trump to disclose part of his legal strategy in the ongoing investigation. U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon denied Smith’s motion, which sought to force Trump to reveal whether he intends to use an “advice-of-counsel” defense against allegations of improper retention and storage of classified documents.

In his November motion, Smith argued that Trump had indicated his intention to claim he was following legal advice when he retained the documents. Smith cited public statements by Trump in which he stated he had no legal obligation to return classified documents or presidential records. Smith also noted Trump’s assertion of being allowed to have and take documents, claiming he was covered by the Presidential Records Act.

However, Judge Cannon disagreed with Smith’s request, stating that it is premature to require defense attorneys to disclose their trial strategy. In a paperless order posted to the federal docket, she explained that a request for disclosure of an advice-of-counsel defense would only be considered after the resolution of pre-trial motions and other necessary disclosures. Cannon’s ruling was issued “without prejudice,” meaning that the issue can be raised later.

It is important to note that Trump has been ordered to inform Smith by Monday whether he intends to rely on an advice-of-counsel defense in his election subversion criminal case in Washington, D.C. This decision by Cannon to grant Trump a reprieve from sharing his strategy follows her previous order to unseal certain documents, despite Smith’s concerns about revealing the government’s plans.

In addition, Judge Cannon granted a defense request to file an “oversized consolidated brief” in support of upcoming discovery motions. This allows both the defendants and the Special Counsel to file consolidated briefs not exceeding 120 double-spaced pages using a 12-point font.

In summary, a federal judge appointed by former President Trump has rejected the special prosecutor’s attempt to compel Trump to reveal part of his legal strategy. The judge determined that it is too soon to require disclosure of an advice-of-counsel defense, but the issue can be raised later. Trump has also been ordered to inform the special prosecutor about his intention to rely on this defense in his election subversion case.