Trump Urges Dismissal Of Mar-a-Lago Case, Claims ‘Selective And Vindictive Prosecution’

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Authored by Caden Pearson via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Former President Donald Trump speaks to the media in Palm Beach, Fla., on March 19, 2024. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump docketed a brief to support his motion to dismiss the classified documents indictment against him in Florida, citing “selective and vindictive prosecution” on Thursday.

The 43-page filing contends that special counsel Jack Smith’s case against the former president “has been motivated by improper political animus.”

It cites “targeted leaks and public statements” by President Joe Biden, “urging others to prosecute President Trump.” This refers to a New York Times report from April 2, 2022, reporting that President Biden told his “inner circle that he believed former President Donald J. Trump was a threat to democracy and should be prosecuted.”

President Trump’s lawyers contend that the article amounted to presidential pressure on Attorney General Merrick Garland to “act … more like a prosecutor who is willing to take decisive action.”

The motion details a series of events to support the former president’s arguments of a concerted effort by the Biden administration and federal agencies to target him.

It points to statements from officials at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), which is responsible for the preservation of presidential records, that the Biden administration’s “current business” was investigating the 45th president. Among other events, it cites a text message from a NARA official dated Feb. 9, 2022, stating that the classified documents have “consumed all of our discussions” with the Biden White House.

“There is evidence of vindictive political animosity focused on election interference in these proceedings, which is part of the reason why the Special Counsel’s Office is wrong in the claim that President Trump ‘does not contend that the Special Counsel himself was motivated by improper considerations,’” President Trump’s lawyers argue.

Smith Refutes Trump’s Claims

In a March 7 filing, Mr. Smith argues against President Trump’s claims that the prosecution team, influenced by political bias, is selectively targeting him for prosecution.

Prosecutors from the special counsel’s office argue that the former president hadn’t identified anyone in his motion who was engaging in similar conduct without being prosecuted and failed to provide evidence that his indictment was solely retaliatory.

Trump contends … that he has been subject to selective and vindictive prosecution,” the prosecution wrote. “But he has not identified anyone who has engaged in a remotely similar battery of criminal conduct and not been prosecuted as a result.

“He has likewise failed to provide any evidence that his indictment was brought solely to retaliate against him for exercising his legal rights, rather than because he flagrantly and repeatedly broke the law,” the prosecution continued.

Meanwhile, President Trump’s legal team has given Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee, a list of other former government officials who they say engaged in similar alleged misconduct, including the mishandling of classified information.

Among them are President Biden, former Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, former President Bill Clinton, and the FBI’s former director James Comey.

However, with respect to the alleged misconduct of these officials, President Trump’s team asserted in a February motion that “no one in the government lifted a finger” to prosecute them.

“Collectively, this history of non-prosecution and leniency for similarly situated individuals and others strongly supports President Trump’s motion based on intolerable and unconstitutional selective and vindictive prosecution,” the motion reads.

President Trump’s lawyers argued again on Thursday that, on its face, these specific comparators are enough to establish a case of selective and vindictive prosecution.

The former president’s legal team asked the judge for further investigation through discovery and a hearing to examine the allegations of selective prosecution.

Trump ‘The Exception’

Special counsel Robert Hurr declined to press charges against President Biden in February, despite finding evidence that he retained and disclosed highly classified materials when he was a private citizen.

According to Mr. Hur’s report from February, there is no precedent for prosecuting former presidents or vice presidents for mishandling classified documents from their own administrations, with one exception.

The exception is President Trump,” the February motion reads.

“The basis is his politics and status as President Biden’s chief political rival,” the motion continues. “Thus, this case reflects the type of selective and vindictive prosecution that cannot be tolerated. Accordingly, further discovery and a hearing are necessary, and the Superseding Indictment must be dismissed.”

President Trump’s legal team cited Mr. Hur’s report in a bid to exonerate him from charges. On the other hand, the prosecution claims that the former president was the only one who participated in a “multifaceted scheme of deception and obstruction” to prevent the safe return of those documents.

The former president argues that the special counsel’s office is trying to influence the general election by pursuing “two lawless prosecutions,” which have been initiated at the urging of the Biden administration.

“[T]he Special Counsel’s Office seeks to ‘become a de facto campaign voice for the Democrats in the general election,’ and Jack Smith is ‘probably less concerned now with whether a Trump conviction will survive appeal than with whether Trump can be convicted ahead of the November 2024 election,’” the February motions reads.

“No sitting President has ever successfully pressed for the prosecution of a former President, and his chief political rival, the way that President Biden did—proudly and publicly—in 2022,” President Trump’s lawyers contend. “NARA has never targeted a former President in the way that the agency targeted President Trump. No law enforcement body has ever raided a former President’s home. DOJ has never even used civil remedies against a former President.”

President Trump’s defense had previously sought to have the case thrown out based on the Presidential Records Act (PRA), but Judge Cannon rejected this argument on April 4.

Mr. Smith had indicted President Trump and aide Walt Nauta in June 2023, alleging mishandling of over 300 classified documents. The charges against the former president include 31 counts of violating the Espionage Act, along with various other counts related to obstruction of justice, withholding documents, and making false statements.

 

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