A former Trump criminal defense attorney is arguing that the investigation into former President Donald Trump over alleged mishandling of classified documents may not even go to trial.
During an interview on Fox News, Timothy Parlatore — who served as a criminal defense attorney for Trump until last month — spoke with host Laura Ingraham about Trump appearing in Miami on Tuesday for his arraignment in the case brought against him by Special Counsel Jack Smith, who Biden’s Department of Justice appointed.
Trump pleaded “not guilty” in federal court. If he is found guilty on all counts, Trump — who is President Joe Biden’s chief rival in next year’s presidential election — could face decades in prison.
Parlatore argued he believes there are fundamental flaws with the case, particularly over the grand jury process and breaches of attorney-client privilege. Parlatore said he believes this could result in the entire case being thrown out.
Parlatore said Trump’s attorneys should “attack the conduct of the entire investigation and show through death by a thousand cuts why this entire investigation is irreparably tainted by government misconduct,” adding: “The case, therefore, should be dismissed or, at a minimum, the prosecutor should be disqualified.”
Earlier this week, a concerning report emerged that Smith may execute a “backup plan” if his case in Florida against Trump does not stick.
NYU Law Professors Ryan Goodman and Andrew Weissmann published an op-ed in The Atlantic, where they speculate that if the classified documents case against Trump in Florida falls through, Smith could pursue charges of “dissemination of classified documents” in the state of New Jersey in an entirely separate indictment.
“Smith appears to have taken a cautious, narrow approach. Even though the indictment describes alleged dissemination and disclosure of national-security secrets, the indictment did not charge Trump with those offenses,” they write. “One possible explanation for his decision: venue. The Constitution requires prosecutors to bring charges in the location—or venue—where the alleged criminal conduct took place. Justice Department prosecutors could not necessarily bring charges against Trump in Miami for alleged criminal conduct that occurred in ano ther state, in this case New Jersey. But the absence of such charges in the indictment raises the intriguing possibility of another indictment to come, in a jurisdiction, no less, with a pool of jurors and judges more favorable to the government’s case against Trump,” the authors wrote in the report.
The report goes on to speculate that if the Florida judge were to delay the case proceedings after the 2024 presidential election, Smith could move ahead with charges in New Jersey — a Democrat stronghold that would likely not be favorable to Trump.
“The legal uncertainties that surround bringing charges in Florida for dissemination of national-security secrets in Bedminster leaves open the possibility that charges might yet be brought in New Jersey—a backup plan of sorts for Smith. If Aileen Cannon, the Florida judge assigned to the case, were to seek to pocket-veto the charges before her by, say, scheduling the trial for after the 2024 presidential election, the special counsel would be able to sidestep her tactic by proceeding with charges in New Jersey,” they added in the report.
“Smith might still decide against bringing a separate indictment for dissemination because such a move could be painted as overcharging,” they wrote. “The government usually tries to avoid being seen as piling on, at least in such a high-profile matter. But if Cannon acts consistently with her prior Trump-friendly rulings, which were twice found by unanimous panels of conservative appellate judges to be both factually and legally flawed, Smith might go looking for another way to ensure accountability — and another venue where he could do so.”
The charges “include willful retention of national defense information, conspiracy to obstruct justice, withholding a document or record, corruptly concealing a document or record, concealing a document in a federal investigation, a scheme to conceal, and false statements and representations,” ABC News reported.
“Maximum sentences for the respective charges, per their statutes, range from five up to 20 years, although any eventual sentence should Trump be convicted would likely be much lower,” the outlet added.