Herridge: Attorney Points to Big Problem With Trump Indictment—Allegedly Exculpatory Evidence

AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

Looks like there are more problems with that indictment from Special Counsel Jack Smith, even as it just getting started with the arraignment of former President Donald Trump on Thursday.

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Trump entered a not guilty plea to the four counts, which included conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against rights.

According to a report from CBS News’ Catherine Herridge, Tim Parlatore, who is the attorney for former NYPD Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik, provided records to Jack Smith on July 23. Parlatore thinks the Special Counsel may not have reviewed records before indicting Trump because he thinks those materials are exculpatory.

A source close to Kerik’s legal team said at the time that they believed the records, which include sworn affidavits from people raising concerns about the integrity of the 2020 presidential contest, show there was a genuine effort to investigate claims of voter fraud in the last election.

In an Aug. 2 email to Parlatore, reviewed by CBS News, a special counsel’s office prosecutor requested “responsive documents as to which the Trump campaign is no longer asserting a privilege,” referring to the Kerik records Parlatore said he previously provided.

Parlatore said he was “stunned” when, after the indictment came down, the prosecutor contacted him asking for the records he said he had already provided. Parlatore said the “records are absolutely exculpatory.”

“They bear directly on the essential element of whether Rudy Giuliani, and therefore Donald Trump, knew that their claims of election fraud were false,” Parlatore said. “Good- faith reliance upon claims of fraud, even if they later turn out to be false, is very different from pushing fraud claims that you know to be false at the time.”

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Parlatore used to work for Trump but left in May.

But if, indeed, those materials are exculpatory and Smith proceeded anyway, that doesn’t say a lot about his case or his process. If Trump is pursuing all these efforts to prove fraud, it does tend to show he has an honestly held belief. That puts a big hole in an indictment that was already flawed, and seemingly based on going after him for his beliefs. We’ve already seen legal experts like George Washington law professor Jonathan Turley and former prosecutor Andy McCarthy casting doubt on the flawed nature of this latest indictment. Not to mention how Republicans aren’t allowed to doubt election results. For them, now, it’s seemingly a crime. Yet Democrats can take all kinds of actions to question elections, and they will not be pursued with criminal action like this.

Some now believe after all the flurry of lawfare, that this isn’t so much about obtaining a conviction against Donald Trump as much as it is about taking up Trump’s time and money to defend the endless actions. That way you incapacitate him as a candidate even if you can’t convict him on the evidence, and Democrats get what they want — they hold onto power.

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