Jack Smith Argues Codefendant Lacks Merit to Dismiss Charges for Vindictive Prosecution in Trump Case


Special counsel Jack Smith argued in a filing on Friday that Trump codefendant Walt Nauta failed to provide evidence of his assertions of selective and vindictive prosecution in his motion to dismiss charges in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case.

Among the several motions to dismiss filed by Mr. Nauta in the case, Judge Aileen Cannon has already dismissed motions based on unconstitutional vagueness and the Presidential Records Act. Mr. Nauta’s motion to dismiss based on selective and vindictive prosecution is among the two remaining.

The prosecution on Friday opposed a motion to dismiss the indictment on these grounds by Mr. Nauta, one of the defendants in a historic case related to former President Donald Trump’s handling of presidential documents.

Mr. Nauta, who pleaded not guilty, sought dismissal of the indictment or requested discovery, citing claims of selective and vindictive prosecution. He has argued that he was treated differently from other employees of President Trump.

In response to Mr. Nauta’s motion to dismiss, the prosecution argued in a filing on Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida that his claims of selective and vindictive prosecution lack merit.

“His claim of selective prosecution is grounded in comparison to two individuals who, like Nauta, were employed by codefendant Donald J. Trump but whose conduct was not remotely similar to his own,” prosecutors argued. “He therefore fails to provide apt comparators or any evidence that he was selected for prosecution over those other individuals for improper reasons.”

Moreover, prosecutors refuted Mr. Nauta’s claim of vindictive prosecution as “punishment” for his decision not to accept an invitation to appear before the grand jury, arguing this does not exempt him from charges.

“This novel and unsupported claim would render any recipient of a target letter immune from charges by the simple expedient of declining the offer. Nauta’s arguments are without merit and should be denied,” prosecutors argued.

The prosecution contended that the letter addressed to Mr. Nauta unambiguously stated that he was not under any obligation to accept the invitation to testify. It was made clear that if he should “choose to appear before the grand jury,” he could “refuse to answer any question if a truthful answer to the question would tend to incriminate him.”

Mr. Nauta’s alleged actions, which include providing false statements to investigators, warranted the indictment, according to the filing.

According to court documents, Mr. Nauta, who served as a valet for President Trump during his presidency and later as his “body man,” was involved in moving boxes of documents from the White House to a storage room at President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida at the end of his presidency in January 2021.

These documents were later requested by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

The prosecution alleges that Mr. Nauta participated in crucial moments of this process, including transporting boxes for President Trump’s review before subsequently turning 15 boxes over to NARA.

Furthermore, Mr. Nauta is accused of removing some boxes from storage without authorization after a grand jury issued subpoenas related to the documents, but before President Trump’s lawyer reviewed the boxes in the room and certified them in response to the subpoena, according to surveillance footage.

A grand jury returned an indictment on June 8, 2023, and a superseding indictment on July 27, 2023, containing additional charges against Mr. Nauta. FBI agents would later identify more than 100 additional documents with classification markings during a raid in August 2022, according to court documents.

“Nauta has failed to make a showing sufficient to entitle him even to discovery or a hearing, much less dismissal, on his claims of selective and vindictive prosecution. His motion should be denied,” prosecutors wrote.

Mr. Nauta has filed multiple motions seeking dismissal of the indictment or further clarification on specific allegations. However, Judge Aileen Cannon rejected previous motions on April 18, leaving two motions outstanding.


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