Trump Lawyers Criticized for "Distorted and Exaggerated" Claims in Delay Motion

Skylar Hawthorne

Updated Tuesday, October 10, 2023 at 2:58 AM CDT

Trump Lawyers Criticized for "Distorted and Exaggerated" Claims in Delay Motion

Special counsel Jack Smith's team has criticized lawyers representing former President Donald Trump for using "distorted and exaggerated" claims in their motion to delay the trial involving classified documents until after the 2024 election. The Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors have argued against delaying the case, stating that the defense's claims of government noncompliance with discovery obligations are unfounded.

Trump lawyer Christopher Kise has requested a delay in the trial's start date, citing the inability to review all of the classified documents at issue. As a result, Judge Aileen Cannon has paused the deadlines for the review of classified documents, potentially pushing the trial schedule back.

One of the key issues in the trial is the value of Mar-a-Lago, Trump's home and private club. Judge Arthur Engoron has relied on a valuation done by the Palm Beach County tax appraiser's office, which values Mar-a-Lago between $18 and $37 million. However, Trump's lawyer, Alina Habba, claims that Mar-a-Lago would sell for $1 billion or more if put on the market. Real estate professionals estimate that the actual value of Mar-a-Lago is likely between $300 million and $600 million.

Mar-a-Lago charges a $500,000 initiation fee for members and annual dues of $20,000. This year, Mar-a-Lago's tax bill is $602,000. Rep. Jared Moskowitz has asked officials in Palm Beach County to examine Trump's claim that Mar-a-Lago should be valued at $1 billion, which would result in higher annual property taxes.

Judge Engoron has already ruled that the defendants are guilty of inflating their assets. The punishment in the $250 million suit brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James will depend on understanding the amount Trump benefited from inflating his assets.

Special counsel Jack Smith and his team have accused lawyers for Trump of making "distorted and exaggerated" claims about their access to classified information. They have urged U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon to deny Trump's request to delay the trial until after the November 2024 presidential election. Justice Department lawyers have stated that the "vast majority" of classified material collected during the investigation is available to Trump and his co-defendants.

The special counsel's office argues that the government's production of unclassified discovery has been prompt and comprehensive. Federal prosecutors have rebutted claims from Trump's lawyers about their access to classified material, calling them "inaccurate" and "misleading."

The dispute revolves around how the classified materials were taken, why they were retained, what Trump knew, and what his intentions were. Trump's lawyers argue that the current schedule leading up to the trial is unworkable because secure facilities for handling classified information have not been established.

Chris Kise, a member of the defense team, has not yet been fully cleared to review certain classified materials. However, he received an interim security clearance in July and has been authorized to view 2,100 pages of classified discovery since September 13. Four lawyers and one legal analyst working on the case for Trump have received final security clearances to review all 32 documents that led to charges.

The special counsel has made a facility in Washington, D.C. available for Trump and his lawyers to review all evidence, including the highly sensitive documents. Secure facilities in South Florida will also be available for the defense team to review and discuss all classified information by the end of the week. The defense team has access to a classified laptop to address the remaining classified material, except for the highly sensitive records.

In a separate matter, former President Donald Trump has blamed President Joe Biden for the Hamas assault on Israel. Trump identified three reasons for the war: Iran reaping oil revenue from relaxed sanctions enforcement, perceived weakness during Biden's term, and the U.S. freeing up $6 billion in Iranian funds for humanitarian efforts. However, it is important to note that none of the $6 billion in Iranian funds have been released.

Overall, the trial involving Trump's classified documents and the valuation of Mar-a-Lago continues to be a contentious issue. The defense's claims of limited access to classified information have been challenged by the special counsel's team and federal prosecutors. The outcome of the trial and the valuation of Mar-a-Lago will have significant implications for Trump and his family.

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