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Prosecutors have recordings of multiple Trump interviews, documents show


Federal prosecutors have given former president Donald Trump’s legal team access to much of the unclassified evidence against him, including multiple recordings of Mr Trump made during interviews of him since the end of his presidency.

Attorneys working under the supervision of Department of Justice Special Counsel Jack Smith revealed the existence of the recordings in a late Wednesday court filing which detailed what has been turned over to Mr Trump’s lawyers thus far as part of the legally-mandated “discovery” process, in which the government reveals what evidence it intends to use against a criminal defendant at trial.

Specifically, the document says the government has turned over copies of “any written or recorded statements” made by Mr Trump or his co-defendant, Walt Nauta.

Prosecutors said that category of evidence includes multiple “interviews” of Mr Trump by “non-governmental entities,” such as the 21 July 2021 interview referenced in the indictment of the ex-president.

During that interview, Mr Trump spoke to two people who were assisting his ex-chief of staff, Mark Meadows, with the writing of a book about his former administration, and discussed a document which the ex-president claimed to be a war plan for attacking a foreign country. At the time, Mr Trump described the document as “secret information” and noted that he was not able to declassify it because he was no longer president.

The batch of documents provided to Mr Trump’s defence team also includes transcripts of testimony given by witnesses to grand juries in Washington, DC and Florida during the government’s investigation into his alleged mishandling of national defence information, as well as other materials obtained by the government by way of subpoenas and search warrants, such as surveillance footage from his Mar-a-Lago property.

Prosecutors wrote that the tranche of evidence made available to the ex-president’s attorneys “includes the grand jury testimony of witnesses who will testify for the government at the trial of this case”.

Under the terms of a protective order issued last week by Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, Mr Trump is barred from viewing the evidence against him outside the presence of his attorneys.

The order states that Mr Trump “shall only have access to Discovery Materials under the direct supervision of Defense Counsel or a member of Defense Counsel’s staff,” and prohibited either of them from retaining copies of the materials themselves or taking any notes with them after viewing any of the materials.

The protective order and the restrictions it places upon Mr Trump are meant in part to prevent him from directing his followers to harass any witnesses against him or any FBI or DOJ personnel involved in the case.

Magistrate Judge Reinhart also ordered that the discovery materials be kept only by Mr Trump’s legal team and stored securely on premises controlled by them.


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