The evidence across the indictments against former President Donald Trump consists of a jigsaw puzzle of data types. For e-discovery experts, some data types will be more difficult to deal with than others.
What happens when an indictment consists of so many allegations, and requires so much proof, that even e-discovery experts raise their eyebrows at the sheer amount and variety of data coming across their desks?
Such is the case in former President Donald Trump’s four trials spanning four jurisdictions, and bringing 91 criminal charges against Trump personally. Each trial is likely to require the production and review of millions of pages of documents and tens of terabytes of data.
It won’t be an easy feat.
Below, retired U.S. District Judge Paul Grimm of the District of Maryland, the CEO and chief legal technologist at EDRM Mary Mack, and the principal at ESI Attorneys and CEO of eDiscovery Assistant Kelly Twigger discussed what the trickiest of data types will be for counsel in two of the trials: United States of America v. Trump in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and The State of Georgia v. Trump in the Fulton County Superior Court.
Video (No, But Seriously—Video)
Video data may seem like old news. But when one considers the various devices and formats that video now comes in—social media platforms, cellphones, laptops, ephemeral messaging apps etc.—things get more complicated.
For Mack, video is the more challenging “data type de jour” precisely for this reason.
“In those two cases, so much of the evidence was on TV or was [originally] recorded by [various] cellphone(s),” Mack said. But also, “there is video from video depositions, video testimonies, surveillance [footage] from hotels and restaurants and outside of buildings; there are Zoom calls recorded with video; videos [livestreamed] on YouTube and social media … ring cameras. body cameras, self-driving cars and drones,” she said.
What’s more, while some of this video is an easily digestible MP4 format, “there are a lot of [less] standard proprietary” video formats for e-discovery teams to preserve as well, Mack noted.
In addition than the data type itself being unique, the ”staggering” amount of content, and the scattered data map of hundreds of individual devices scattered across the country is likely to make video evidence challenging to track down and analyze.
In both the indictments, but especially the federal case, geolocation data related to mobile devices is likely to be heavily relied on—and also likely to complicate e-discovery.
Such data is widespread and relatively easy to access. Grimm explained that ”as a matter of general practice, your cellphone will reach out to the nearest cell tower … and [the telecommunications company will] give you a list of every one of those towers that your phone reached out to and they’ll give you the coordinates for [the] latitude [and] longitude” of those cell towers.
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