An attorney who was previously on former President Donald Trump’s legal team and is now representing a prominent Trump supporter says special counsel Jack Smith didn’t review important documents in the case before indicting Trump — and asked his client for them a second time on the day after Trump was indicted.
According to CBS News, Timothy C. Parlatore, a former member of Trump’s defense team who is currently working as an attorney for former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, said that he submitted “absolutely exculpatory” documents to the special counsel’s office and was “stunned” by the Tuesday indictment.
Kerik — who worked alongside former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in the weeks following the 2020 election as Trump’s lawyers mounted legal challenges in several states — had testified in front of the Democrats’ January 6 committee for eight hours, according to CNN.
Kerik reportedly turned over thousands of pages of documents to the special counsel’s office on July 23. CBS News reported it had reviewed the emails and confirmed they were sent.
The documents included sworn affidavits from those who questioned the integrity of the electoral process during the 2020 election. A source close to Kerik told CBS the papers proved there was a legitimate effort to contest the results of the 2020 race.
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However, on Wednesday — the day after Smith indicted Trump — Smith’s office reached out to Parlatore and asked for “responsive documents as to which the Trump campaign is no longer asserting a privilege.” You know, the ones Kerik already turned over.
“They bear directly on the essential element of whether Rudy Giuliani, and therefore Donald Trump, knew that their claims of election fraud were false,” Parlatore told CBS News.
“Good- faith reliance upon claims of fraud, even if they later turn out to be false, is very different from pushing fraud claims that you know to be false at the time.”
A former federal prosecutor said that the special counsel office’s apparent neglect of the documents “may have been an oversight.”
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“Kerik may not be a primary witness to the case,” former federal prosecutor Scott Frederickson told CBS. “I tend to think they [the special counsel] are gathering evidence for discovery in this case, and may not have been essential to the indictment. Discovery is a critical stage, and the special counsel wants to be sure all materials are shared.”
The special counsel’s office, for its part, declined to comment when reached by CBS News.
However, this isn’t the first “oversight” that’s plagued Jack Smith’s office this week. In a Monday court filing, the special counsel’s team admitted to not handing over all evidence to Trump’s lawyers in the former president’s classified documents case, in spite of previous statements it had done so.
Beyond that, Smith’s latest round of charges are easily the most constitutionally dubious — and the documents Kerik turned over, if they say what Parlatore contends they do, should have militated against the decision to indict the former president.
Throughout the indictment, the special counsel’s office asserts that the former president knew that Trump’s claims the election was fraudulent were themselves fraudulent, not just wrong or misguided.
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Why? Smith contends that Trump knew from an early stage that his allegations of voter irregularities were specious — but at no point does Smith provide evidence into the former president’s state of mind during the weeks between the election and Jan. 6, 2021.
That’s not to say the evidence won’t be forthcoming — a prosecutor isn’t required to reveal all elements of his case until he absolutely has to, of course — but prosecuting Trump in such a way would require convincing not just a jury but appellate court judges that the former president’s actions aren’t covered under the First Amendment’s rather wide speech protections.
Thus, it’s not really a good look when one of the closest men to the president during the weeks between the election and the Capitol incursion furnishes your office with thousands of pages of documents that, according to his lawyer, provide ample exculpatory evidence for Trump — and, from the looks of things, Smith’s office didn’t even know it had the documents.
Naturally, there’s another conclusion the lay observer can draw: That this isn’t about convicting Trump at all, but merely gumming up the legal system with enough cases at just the right time to smear the front-runner in the GOP presidential race with as much damage as possible.
Just like the regimes of banana republic dictators do.
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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he’s written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he’s written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture