Special counsel wants to know if potential jurors in classified documents case believe 2020 election was stolen

Prosecutors want to ask potential jurors in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case against former President Donald Trump whether they believe the 2020 election was stolen – one of several proposed queries for the jury pool that prosecutors and the defendants are at odds over, according to a new court filing.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys submitted a list of questions for potential jurors for the judge overseeing the case to review. The filing outlines which questions the parties agree are necessary to ask people called for jury duty when the case goes to trial, and which questions they disagree on asking.

The proposed jury questionnaire form gives insight into how each side in the case is approaching voir dire, or the process of questioning potential jurors, for the historic trial. It also highlights the unique challenges of fielding a jury for the unprecedented, high-profile case.

According to the new jury questionnaire filing, defense attorneys object to asking questions about potential jurors’ feelings on the Justice Department and FBI, and their opinions and news consumption around the FBI’s 2022 search of Mar-a-Lago. The defense also opposes specific references to Trump’s properties, including the Mar-a-Lago estate, in some of the questions.

Meanwhile, the defendants are proposing – to the objection of special counsel Jack Smith’s office – that jurors be asked if they’re registered to vote, if they voted in 2020 and whether they have a registered party affiliation. The special counsel also opposes a question proposed by the defense seeking negative views potential jurors have of politicians.

Trump has been charged with unlawful retention of national defense information and obstruction in the case, which was first brought against the former president last summer. He’s accused of mishandling sensitive government documents he took from the White House to Mar-a-Lago at the end of his presidential term. He has two co-defendants in the case, who are both charged with obstruction-related crimes: his bodyman Walt Nauta and Carlos De Oliveira, a Mar-a-Lago employee.

The three defendants have pleaded not guilty.

Smith’s team and defense attorneys do agree on several questions, including whether potential jurors have ever donated money to a political campaign, ever attended political rallies in support of a candidate, or whether they have “displayed a bumper sticker or magnet on your car.”

There’s also stark disagreement between prosecutors and the defense over how long the trial will last: Prosecutors are recommending a prediction of four to six weeks, while the defense suggests eight to 10 weeks.

The trial is ostensibly scheduled to begin in May, but there is a hearing in the case on Friday where the judge will discuss scheduling and other issues.

The documents case is one of four criminal prosecutions the former president and 2024 GOP frontrunner is facing.

Smith has brought a separate case in Washington, DC – on hold while the Supreme Court takes up Trump claims of presidential immunity – stemming from Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election. A prosecution brought by the Manhattan District Attorney that concerns a hush money scheme during Trump’s 2016 campaign is scheduled to go to trial next month. Meanwhile, the Georgia election interference case against Trump and several other defendants brought has been tied up by ethics allegations against District Attorney Fani Willis.

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