WASHINGTON — Dozens of witnesses interviewed in the federal investigation that led to a four-count indictment of former President Donald Trump for trying to peacefully stop a transition of power have withheld information based on the attorney-client privilege, the privilege. Counselor Jack Smith’s office filed a court filing Tuesday.
Smith’s office We ask The Trump team must reveal by December whether it plans to argue in a trial by U.S. District Judge Tanya Sudkan that Trump relied on the lawyer’s advice after his 2020 election loss. While several lawyers in Trump’s orbit have told him that the claims of massive election fraud are baseless and that he cannot overturn the election results, Trump has relied on a legal team that former Attorney General William Barr referred to as “the clown car.”
Since his impeachment, Trump and his team have “repeatedly stated publicly that they intend to emphasize counsel’s advice as a central element of his defense at trial,” Smith’s team wrote.
Smith’s team argued that prosecutors should have access to additional communications between the former president and his attorney if Trump plans to trigger the defense.
If Trump claims attorney-client privilege in the case, Smith’s office said, he would have to waive “attorney-client privilege for all defense-related communications,” and federal prosecutors would be “entitled to additional discovery and may conduct an investigation, both of which may require further litigation and explanations.”
Smith’s office said a formal announcement would prevent delays in the trial, which is set to begin in March 2024.
Sutgen gave Trump until October 20 to respond. After that, the government should file a reply by October 25.
At least 25 witnesses cited attorney-client privilege when withholding information from the trial, the filing said.
“During the government’s investigation, at least 25 witnesses withheld information, communications and documents based on assertions of the attorney-client privilege. . . . These included co-conspirators, former campaign staffers, the campaign, outside lawyers, a non-lawyer intermediary and even a family member of the defendant. .”
The indictment returned by a federal grand jury in August painted a picture of a Trump operation that some lawyers and plans to throw out after the 2020 election knew were “crazy.” Co-conspirator 3 – identified as Sidney Powell – admitted to Trump advisers that he was “crazy,” according to the indictment.
“When our research and campaign legal team can’t back up any of our elite strike force legal team’s claims, you can see why we’re 0-32 in our cases,” a senior campaign adviser wrote in November 2020. email, according to the indictment. “I’ll be busy helping out on all fronts, but it’s hard to own any of this when it’s all just a plot, dropped off the mothership.”
At a November 2020 news conference at the Republican National Committee, former Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis called the fringe legal team an “elite strike force.”
Both Smith’s team and Trump’s lawyers are in court Monday for a hearing on a partial gag order sought by Smith’s team that would limit certain public statements about the 2024 Republican front-runner’s case against Trump.