Judge rejects special counsel’s request to seal documents in Trump’s classified materials case
Federal Judge Aileen Cannon has ruled against special counsel Jack Smith’s motion to keep certain documents sealed in the case against former President Donald Trump regarding classified materials.
(Article republished from YourNews.com)
In a Monday development in former President Donald Trump’s classified documents case, federal Judge Aileen Cannon denied a motion by special counsel Jack Smith to keep certain documents concealed from Trump’s defense team. This decision was made in the ongoing legal battle involving Trump’s alleged retention of sensitive government materials at his Mar-a-Lago residence, some marked top secret.
In her order dated December 4, Judge Cannon instructed the court clerk to unseal multiple documents that Smith’s team sought to keep sealed. Trump has maintained that he declassified the materials using presidential powers and denies any wrongdoing, framing the case as a political move to obstruct his potential 2024 presidential campaign.
Alongside Trump, co-defendants Walt Nauta and Mar-a-Lago property manager Carlos De Oliveira, both pleaded not guilty. The defense and prosecution have been contending over the extent of classified material access permitted to the defendants, with the judge’s latest ruling favoring the co-defendants.
The order stated, “In light of the Special Counsel’s Response to Defendants Motion to Unseal 230, and mindful of the strong presumption in favor of public access to judicial documents, the Clerk is directed to unseal docket entries 223, 224, and 230.”
Smith’s team initially opposed unsealing documents 223 and 224, concerned it would reveal strategic insights to Trump’s legal team. The case is being tried under the Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA), with the CIPA Section 4 motion central to how classified documents are used in court.
Judge Cannon has also ruled on the defense’s request to postpone trial deadlines, granting it in part and denying it in part. She suggested that a trial date delay could be considered in a March 1, 2024, scheduling conference, just days before Trump’s trial in another case prosecuted by Smith in Washington.
The judge acknowledged the case’s complexities and the high volume of classified discovery, leading to adjustments in pre-trial deadlines. The new schedule includes a joint discovery status report due on January 9, 2024, and a deadline for pretrial motions on February 22, 2024.
In the Washington case, Trump faces charges of illegal interference with the 2020 elections, with the trial set for March 4, 2024. The defense has emphasized the need for ample time to review a substantial amount of discovery material, including over a million pages of documents and 60 terabytes of security footage.
The special counsel’s office, meanwhile, is attempting to limit the defendants’ access to certain classified discovery materials already produced.
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