A US district judge has rejected former US President Donald Trump’s subpoena for “missing materials.” Trump’s Motion for Pretrial Rule 17(c) Subpoena requested seven non-partisan individuals to include records from the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol. Trump sought to subpoena Representative Bennie Thompson, chairman of the January 6 committee, White House counsel Richard Sauber and others in connection with the January 6 investigation. Here, the judge found the claim of Trump on the missing materials very broad and vague request on Monday, comparing it to a “fishing expedition.”
Rule 17(c) is a 3-prong test that requires a request to be relevant, admissible and specific. The federal judge here did not find Trump to meet these burdens, saying that the documents sought were from “broad categories of documents.” The legal standard governing Trump’s subpoena is Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 17(c), which states that courts “may order that books, papers, documents or things specified in the subpoena be produced to before the court at a time prior to trial.” While this rule is intended to facilitate the discovery process, it is not intended “to provide a means of discovery for criminal cases.” Here the federal judge applied this rule to deny Trump’s motion as a “fishing expedition”, saying:
Accordingly, Rule 17(c) subpoenas are not appropriate where the moving party seeks materials that are ‘obtainable reasonably in advance of trial by the exercise of due diligence,’ or act ‘as a general the ‘fishing expedition’…Courts must be careful that rule 17(c) is not turned into a broad discovery device, thereby lowering the strict limits of discovery in criminal cases found of the Fed. R. Crim. P. 16.
This comes after Trump was indicted in August on various charges of meddling in the 2020 election.