Smith asks judge in documents case to reconsider ruling making witness names public

By Jen Krausz on
 February 10, 2024

Federal prosecutors under special counsel Jack Smith have asked U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon to reconsider a ruling they argue would expose witnesses in the classified documents case against former President Donald Trump to threats and intimidation.

Prosecutors argued that the wrong legal standard was applied in the ruling, which would turn over unredacted discovery materials to Trump's team, members of which could then make them public.

“Revelation of these witnesses’ identities, or the substance of their interviews with the FBI, dangerously risks exposing them,” the special counsel said, claiming that there is a “well-documented pattern” of “threats, harassment, and intimidation” against others who testified against Trump in other cases.

While it is highly unusual to withhold discovery evidence from a defendant, Smith's team thinks the risks to witnesses warrant doing so.

It's also very unusual, and not usually a good idea, for a prosecutor to tell a judge he thinks she got it wrong.

It may not matter anyway, since there is no way it's going to be seen as fair to prosecute Trump for mishandling classified documents when President Joe Biden just got off scot-free doing the same thing.