Legal Experts Suggest Jack Smith’s Indictment Hints at Graver ‘Leaking’ Charges Against Trump in New Jersey

 Legal Experts Suggest Jack Smith’s Indictment Hints at Graver ‘Leaking’ Charges Against Trump in New Jersey

Credit: Alex Brandon/AP, FILE

In recent news, former President Donald Trump entered a plea of “not guilty” to the 37 federal counts leveled against him. However, legal experts have raised concerns about the wording of the indictment issued by special counsel Jack Smith, suggesting that it may expose Trump to additional charges.

According to an article in The Atlantic by Ryan Goodman and Andrew Weissmann, the 49-page indictment does not include a charge of disseminating classified information, which they consider to be a more severe offense. Speculation arises from the fact that the charges were filed in Florida, while the alleged dissemination of classified information may have occurred in New Jersey.

According to the Justice Department and a taped recording of the former president, Trump took classified records from Mar-a-Lago to Bedminster, where he showed off the contents of such records to others. The indictment alleges that Trump showed a map to a political ally and also showed a writer and a publisher a secret military plan to attack Iran. These two episodes were arguably the most egregious allegations of criminal wrongdoing mentioned in the indictment; they allege not just the improper retention of our nation’s most highly classified information, but the intentional communication of such information.

The authors refer to a recording obtained by CNN, in which Trump is heard brandishing documents and referring to them as “secret” information, stating that they were provided to him by the military. Goodman and Weissmann highlight the distinction between the illegal retention of classified information, which is a serious charge, and deliberate dissemination, which carries even greater significance. If Trump intentionally leaked classified information while at his Bedminster club in New Jersey, this could potentially lead to a separate and more serious charge.

One of the reasons cited in the article for the absence of dissemination charges in the indictment is the likelihood of prosecuting the case in Florida. Concerns have been raised regarding the impartiality of Judge Aileen Cannon, who was appointed by Trump. Moreover, there is speculation that Cannon could delay the trial until after the 2024 election, effectively “pocket-vetoing” the charges, which would allow Smith to bring forward new charges in New Jersey before that time.

The lack of dissemination charges in the current indictment raises questions if Trump did indeed discuss the classified information he received with others. Although the indictment states that Trump allegedly transported boxes of documents from Florida to New Jersey, the act of dissemination, if it occurred, would have taken place while he was in New Jersey, potentially subjecting him to a separate and more severe charge. However, it remains uncertain whether this possibility will materialize.

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