DOJ Begins Turning Over Docs Evidence to Trump Team

On Wednesday night, the Justice Department confirmed it had started sharing evidence with the legal team of former President Donald Trump, aiding them in their preparation against accusations of unlawfully retaining classified documents.

The array of evidence encompasses transcripts from grand jury testimonies in Washington and Florida, closed-circuit television footage acquired by the government, and copies of Trump interviews “conducted by non-government entities, which were recorded with his consent and obtained” by the special counsel Jack Smith’s prosecution team.

The shared materials include an audio recording of a July 2021 meeting with a writer and publisher at Trump’s Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club. In this meeting, Trump is alleged in the indictment to have displayed and discussed a Pentagon “plan of attack” that he claimed was drafted for him by the Defense Department. Public statements referenced in the indictment and made by Trump have also been handed over to his lawyers.

Earlier this month, Trump was charged with 37 felony offenses, including 31 counts under the Espionage Act for purportedly retaining national defense information knowingly. He has entered a not guilty plea and refutes any misconduct.

In legal proceedings, it is customary for information and evidence to be exchanged between parties to facilitate defense preparation. Earlier in the week, a federal magistrate imposed a protective order to limit the public disclosure of evidence that Trump receives via the discovery process.

Judge Aileen Cannon, who is presiding over the case, has set a preliminary trial date of August 14. However, due to anticipated intricate debates about the range of evidence in the case, this date is likely to be postponed.