The special prosecutor in former President Donald Trump’s election fraud case is accusing the defense of changing course and making the disingenuous demand for cameras in the trial. For example, Trump’s motion on Friday did not mention that the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure prohibit photography and filming.
Now prosecutors are asking the judge for permission to make a formal statement.
“The defendant’s response did not reference the relevant Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure or cite any applicable case law, but rather was false and inflammatory
allegations regarding the management of his criminal case, United States v. Trump, No. 23-cr-257 (TSC),,” said Special Counsel Jack Smith wrote in a motion filed Sunday. “The government requests an opportunity to respond to defendant’s claims and stands ready to file its proposed four-page response promptly upon receipt of the court’s permission.”
Smith said the defense was reversing its previous neutral stance in front of the courtroom cameras.
“On November 3, 2023, the United States filed objections to requests from a coalition of media organizations seeking to record and broadcast the criminal trial of Donald J. Trump (“the defendant”),” he wrote. “ECF No. 16. Prior to this filing, the government inquired about defendant’s position on the motions and his counsel requested that the government explain to the court that he had not taken a position. The government has clearly communicated this to the Court. ID. at No. 2. However, on November 10, defendant changed course and filed a statement of defense in support of the motions.”
Trump was indicted in Washington, DC earlier this year for allegedly conspiring to overturn the 2020 presidential election and is scheduled to go on trial in March 2024. His lawyers called on Friday for cameras to broadcast the proceedings. By demanding this, they are siding with a conglomerate of media companies that want the same thing.
“The prosecution wants to continue this travesty in the dark. President Trump demands sunlight,” Trump lawyer John F. Lauro wrote in one five-page petition. “Every person in America and beyond should have the opportunity to study this case firsthand and watch as President Trump exonerates himself of these baseless and politically motivated allegations if he goes to trial.”
But the filing was virtually missing any relevant legal arguments as to why the former president’s trial should be televised, a request that would directly violate the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure’s ban on photography and filming in the courthouse. The bill makes no mention of the federal rule barring cameras during proceedings.
However, the document is full of baseless claims that Trump is being politically prosecuted by the Justice Department at the direction of the Biden administration. The former president also repeatedly claims — without providing evidence — that President Joe Biden, the Justice Department and U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan intentionally tried to derail his bid to return to the White House in 2024.
Jerry Lambe contributed to this report.
Do you have a tip we should know? [email protected]