Former Trump attorney Timothy Parlatore said on Sunday he would be “not at all” surprised if the former President did not face any charges at the end of Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into his handling of classified documents, The Hill reported.
“No, not at all. Not at all. I think, you have to evaluate every case based on, what are the facts in the law, and is it something that’s provable? But then there’s also all of the other atmospherics of is this, from a discretion point of view, is this something where a prosecution makes sense?” Parlatore was quoted as having said on NBC’s “Meet the Press”.
Parlatore, who recently left Trump’s legal team because of “internal” issues, said he expects additional hurdles will make the decision of whether to bring charges or not more complicated. For example, he said, if the case involves potential national defense information, the issue of whether to declassify the relevant information could factor into whether to bring charges.
“Even if he did a lot of the things that they’re saying that he did, prosecuting him,” he said, might not be the best decision “because there are all of these other problems. Classification is not binding on the jury. You have to actually take these documents, show them to the jury, and then prove to them that it constitutes national defense information.”
Last August, the US government recovered more than 300 documents with classified markings from Trump's Mar-a-Lago home in Florida.
The New York Times reported that the classified documents included material from the CIA, the National Security Agency and the FBI.
A later report indicated that a document describing a foreign government’s military defenses, including its nuclear capabilities, was found by FBI agents during the search of Trump’s home.
A subsequent report said some of the classified documents recovered by the FBI from Mar-a-Lago included highly sensitive intelligence regarding Iran and China.
In November of 2022, US Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Smith as special counsel to oversee investigations into Trump, including the probe of the classified documents.
Last week, CNN reported that federal prosecutors have obtained an audio recording of a summer 2021 meeting in which Trump acknowledges he held onto a classified Pentagon document about a potential attack on Iran.
The recording indicates Trump understood he retained classified material after leaving the White House, according to multiple sources familiar with the investigation.
Trump insists that he declassified the documents in question before leaving office. The former President and his lawyers have publicly insinuated on multiple occasions that the agents who carried out the raid planted evidence during the search.