Trump Seeks Case Dismissal Over Alleged Mishandling Of Evidence

Former President Donald Trump’s legal team has filed a motion to dismiss the case involving classified documents found at his Mar-a-Lago estate. The motion alleges that the prosecution mishandled evidence and compromised Trump’s defense. This follows the release of new photos by special counsel Jack Smith’s team from the August 2022 raid.

According to Trump’s attorneys, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the prosecution team did not properly maintain the evidence, focusing instead on staging photographs for the media. The motion states, “The prosecution team destroyed exculpatory evidence supporting one of the most basic defenses available to President Trump in response to the politically motivated charges in this case.”

Initially, the Department of Justice released a photo showing disordered piles of papers with clear classification markings. However, Smith’s team admitted that the color-coded cover sheets were added by the investigative team as placeholders for the documents found at Mar-a-Lago. A court filing in May revealed that the placeholders were used when documents with classification markings were removed and segregated.

Prosecutors acknowledged that the order of items in the boxes had changed since the seizure, noting in a footnote that earlier reports to the judge were incorrect. “The Government acknowledges that this is inconsistent with what Government counsel previously understood and represented to the Court,” the filing stated.

In response to Trump’s motion, Smith argued that the failure to maintain the original order of the documents does not support the former president’s spoliation claim. He confirmed that the FBI’s Evidence Response Team added cover sheets and photographed the documents next to the boxes they were found in.

The court filing also disclosed that the closed-circuit television servers were turned off at the FBI’s request to protect agent safety. The prosecution released new photos purportedly showing Trump’s careless storage of classified documents. “Against this backdrop of the haphazard manner in which Trump chose to maintain his boxes, he now claims that the precise order of the items within the boxes when they left the White House was critical to his defense,” Smith’s team argued.

Smith emphasized that the FBI agents conducted the search professionally and thoroughly, despite the cluttered state of the boxes and the large volume of highly classified documents Trump retained.