POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

President Trump receives first batch of evidence against him in classified documents case

Jun 22, 2023, 7:00 AM

Special counsel Jack Smith speaks to reporters on June 9, in Washington. Smith has begun producing ...

Special counsel Jack Smith speaks to reporters on June 9, in Washington. Smith has begun producing evidence in the Mar-a-Lago documents case to Donald Trump. Alex Brandon/AP

(CNN) — Special counsel Jack Smith has begun producing evidence in the Mar-a-Lago documents case to former President Donald Trump, according to a Wednesday court filing that hints that investigators collected for the case multiple recordings of the former president – not just audio of an interview Trump gave at Bedminster for a forthcoming Mark Meadows memoir.

Prosecutors in the filing used the plural “interviews” to describe recordings of President Trump – made with his consent – obtained by the special counsel that have now been turned over to his defense team. It is unclear what the additional recordings may be of or how relevant they will be to the Justice Department’s case against the former president, though the recordings include the Bedminster tape where Trump speaks about a secret military document to a writer and others, the prosecutors said in the filing.

The prosecutors’ update to the court on Wednesday night marks another swift move toward trial, which the Justice Department has said should happen quickly, and captures at least some of the extent of the evidence investigators secured to build their historic case against Trump.

The first batch of discovery production – made up of unclassified materials – includes transcripts of witness testimony in front of the grand juries in Washington, DC, and Florida that were probing the mishandling of government documents from President Trump’s White House. It also includes materials collected via subpoenas and search warrants; memos detailing other witness interviews given through mid-May in the investigation; and copies of the surveillance footage investigators obtained in the probe.

The first batch of evidence, provided on Wednesday, “includes the grand jury testimony of witnesses who will testify for the government at the trial of this case,” the special counsel’s office wrote.

“Defense counsel can contact the government to arrange for inspection of unclassified items seized at Mar-a-Lago on August 8, 2022,” the filing said.

The new submission indicates that President Trump’s co-defendant, Walt Nauta has not yet received discovery, but the Smith team said they will promptly provide it once a lawyer enters an appearance for him in the case. Nauta is scheduled to be arraigned next Tuesday.

Former President Trump has pleaded not guilty to the charges Smith has brought against him, which include charges for willful retention of national defense information as well charges stemming from alleged obstruction of the investigation.

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President Trump receives first batch of evidence against him in classified documents case