Alan Dershowitz to Newsmax: 'People Have Cried Wolf Too Much' (Newsmax/''The Record With Greta Van Susteren'')
By Eric Mack | Tuesday, 16 August 2022 07:43 PM EDT
The FBI affidavit sent to Judge Bruce Reinhart for the warrant to search former President Donald Trump's home at Mar-a-Lago should be released with as little redacted as possible, according to legal expert Alan Dershowitz on Newsmax.
''People have cried wolf too much about secrecy, and courts ought to look very hard at claims of secrecy and presume that the public has the right to know — except that there's a good reason not to,'' Dershowitz told Tuesday's ''The Record With Greta Van Susteren.''
Dershowitz urged the Department of Justice to release the affidavit after discussing the witnesses or evidence that can be justified to keep secret from the public.
''The public demands release,'' he continued. ''The presumption has to be release everything, and then that presumption can be overcome by an alleged claim of secrecy.
''I've been involved in a lot of these secrecy cases over the years. You may remember the Pentagon Papers case wherein the former dean of the Harvard Law School represented to the United States Supreme Court that if these papers were released, essentially the country would fold.
''The papers were released, and nothing happened.''
Ultimately, Dershowitz said it will be difficult to prove wrongdoing by Trump by the FBI, Justice Department and National Archives' pursuit of alleged mishandling of classified documents.
''I don't think we're going to find any of that evidence in relation to Donald Trump,'' Dershowitz said. ''Because he's the president of United States. He didn't pack boxes — probably didn't tell people what to put in the boxes.''
Any negligence in the handling of the contents of the boxes the FBI seized will have to prove ''intent'' and ''willfulness,'' according to Dershowitz.
''There may been negligence here, we don't know,'' he said, pointing at then-FBI Director James Comey once he ended the investigation of Hillary Clinton.
''Remember, Comey announced the reason that Hillary Clinton was not being prosecuted is that negligence is not enough under these statutes. You need intent and willfulness, and I think it's going to be very hard to pin willfulness or intent on a busy president, who was still claiming that he was the real president.
''He didn't want to leave the White House. He was doing everything in his power to remain on. The last thing I'm sure he was thinking about was what boxes get packed and what gets put in them.''
Dershowitz said the FBI gave itself an open warrant to seize whatever it wanted, as opposed to issuing a subpoena that would have had to itemize what it wanted to take.
''Apparently they found his passports in them; that's what the vice is of a search warrant as distinguished from a subpoena,'' he continued. ''In the subpoena, you'd have to specifically ask for the search for the passports. If you didn't ask for them, they wouldn't be turned over.
''But when you have a search, everything gets thrown together, and then essentially some things get handed back and some things get challenged.''
Dershowitz compared the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago to the New York civil case against the Trump Organization, whether it will be the business or ''the vice president in charge of going to jail'' on the hook, such as the organization's chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg.
''When you have a very large corporation, which has lots of businesses all over the world, often what you have is just an indictment of two units: one, the company itself, and then somebody who we criminal lawyers call 'the vice president in charge of going to jail,''' Dershowitz said.
''There's usually one person who is the flak-catcher, who has been paid a lot of money, and the understanding is that that person will take the blame for everything that's gone on.
''I have no idea whether this guy was 'the vice president in charge of going to jail,' but I've had many cases in my career where such persons have manifested themselves and they've been the ones who get prosecuted, may usually serve as a buffer to prevent from going higher and higher and higher. There have been many cases like this.
''Again, I don't know whether this is that, but there has to be proof beyond a reasonable doubt that any individual is guilty. And right now that doesn't seem to be the case involving the CEO of the company, Donald Trump.''
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