Judge Demands Special Counsel Explain Why He Used D.C. Grand Jury in Trump Documents Case

America is in such an advanced state of rot and decay that when someone in a position of authority asks the right question or acts in accordance with law and the Constitution, we are absolutely ebullient. Sick.

Judge Demands Special Counsel Explain Why He Used DC Grand Jury in Trump Documents Case

By Matthew Vadum, The Epoch Times, August 7, 2023:

Florida-based federal Judge Aileen Cannon has asked the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to justify its continued use of a District of Columbia grand jury in hopes of adding charges in the case against former President Donald Trump regarding his handling of classified government records at his Florida home.

Using the work of a grand jury in one jurisdiction to indict a defendant out of state isn’t necessarily unconstitutional, but it is unusual, a legal expert told The Epoch Times.

The records case is being heard in the judge’s courtroom in Fort Pierce, Florida.

DOJ special counsel Jack Smith has brought 40 federal felony counts in Florida for retention of U.S. defense information related to 337 documents with classified markings, obstruction, and lying to the government.

The indictment for the obstruction counts was announced in late July and came after the bulk of the counts had already been made public. The former president allegedly engaged in obstruction by directing that security footage from his residence at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, be deleted.

The District of Columbia grand jury indicted Mr. Trump for his alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Mr. Smith is also overseeing that prosecution.

Mr. Trump was indicted earlier this year in Judge Cannon’s district, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, for multiple felony counts related to his handling of government records at Mar-a-Lago.

The 45th president is accused of violating the federal Espionage Act and other federal statutes for allegedly conspiring to obstruct justice, making false statements, and concealing documents. The indictment states that Mr. Trump stored classified documents in unauthorized locations at his home, including in his bedroom, a bathroom, and a ballroom. Mr. Trump also allegedly shared some of the materials with people who lacked security clearances.

In an Aug. 7 order, Judge Cannon directed the DOJ to “address the legal propriety of using an out-of-district grand jury proceeding to continue to investigate and/or to seek post-indictment hearings on matters pertinent to the instant indicted matter in this district.”

The court imposed a deadline of Aug. 22 for the government to respond.

The fact that the work of a grand jury in the nation’s capital, where the available pool of jurors in the Democrat stronghold is considered largely hostile to the former Republican president, laid the groundwork for indictments in federal court in Florida could present thorny but not necessarily insurmountable problems when the matter is tried.

Even if this possible instance of grand jury-shopping by Mr. Smith fails to derail the prosecution’s case in the records prosecution against Mr. Trump and other defendants, defense attorneys may raise the issue on appeal if their clients are ultimately convicted.

Curt Levey, an attorney who is president of the Committee for Justice, a conservative legal advocacy nonprofit, told The Epoch Times that he wasn’t aware of any federal statute that forbids the practice.

“Typically, the grand jury is in the same federal district where the case is going to be tried,” Mr. Levey said in an interview.

“Certainly the Constitution doesn’t require it.”

Even if the DOJ has an internal policy precluding the practice, it isn’t clear that the department would follow it, he said.

“I mean, there’s also a DOJ policy that says ‘try not to indict people at a time when it will interfere in an election,’ and they didn’t seem to really follow that one,” he said.

In the same order, Judge Cannon noted that the prosecutors, who are also pursuing criminal charges against longtime Trump aide Waltine Nauta, are demanding a court hearing regarding any possible conflicts of interest one of his attorneys may have related to his representation of Mr. Nauta.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

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