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Jack Smith not messing around on timing in Trump classified documents case

As the clock ticks toward the 2024 election, the special counsel doesn’t want to leave anything to chance. So he's turning over witness statements now.


The timing of pretrial discovery doesn’t always make national news, but it takes on exceeding importance when Donald Trump is involved, especially in a federal case that he or another Republican could pardon away or otherwise scuttle if they win the presidency.

We were just reminded of this with a filing Wednesday from special counsel Jack Smith’s office, which suggests the government doesn’t want to leave any excuses for delay in the classified documents case.

That prosecution filing in United States v. Trump, listing materials turned over to the defense, could be a routine document in any other case. But one thing that stands out is that the special counsel has already provided grand jury testimony, including from co-defendant Waltine Nauta, well in advance of trial. That proactive disclosure lessens, though of course doesn’t eliminate, the prospect of delay — something Trump wants to take advantage of however he can.

As I noted Tuesday, it would be shocking if the initial August trial date set by Judge Aileen Cannon holds. Normal cases generally don’t go to trial that quickly — and this isn’t a normal case. That’s all the more reason for the government to turn over any relevant evidence to the defense as soon as possible. It appears Smith’s team is taking that approach.

Remember, when Trump was indicted, Smith emphasized that the government wants a speedy trial. Turning over discovery expeditiously doesn’t guarantee that outcome, but it puts Smith’s team in the best position to achieve it.

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