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Jack Smith responds after Trump legal team argues for special counsel to be held in contempt

Prosecutors in Smith’s office said that they have not violated a court order in the federal election interference case.
Image: Special counsel Jack Smith
Special counsel Jack Smith speaks at the Department of Justice office in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 1, 2023.Jacquelyn Martin / AP

WASHINGTON — One day after attorneys for former President Donald Trump asked a judge to hold special counsel Jack Smith in contempt for filing motions ahead of deadlines, Smith’s team hit back in a new court filing Friday.

Smith’s office argued that they did not violate a court order by providing discovery ahead of deadlines, and that Trump’s “recycled allegations of partisanship and prosecutorial misconduct remain baseless.”

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan last month paused proceedings in the case while an appeals court considers whether it should be dismissed on presidential immunity grounds, as Trump has argued.

Chutkan’s ruling to pause the proceedings said that if her court continues on the case, she would consider whether to keep or change the dates of future deadlines. She specified that the deadlines were temporarily paused, “rather than permanently vacated.”

Smith’s filing noted that three days before Chutkan entered her order pausing deadlines in the case, prosecutors informed all parties in a public filing that they would continue to voluntarily comply with the previously established deadlines.

The prosecution, Smith’s office wrote in Friday’s memo, “did what it said it would do.”

Smith’s office went on to argue that no action is required of Trump, and that he has not explained how “the mere receipt” of documents that he doesn’t have to reply to “possibly burdens him.”

Smith’s office also explained that it plans to continue to meet the previously set deadlines to make it easier to “resume the pretrial schedule” once the appeals court hands down a decision.

The appeals court is scheduled to hear arguments next week. Its eventual ruling could be appealed to the Supreme Court.