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Plans to hold a hearing on a protective order for classified evidence in the Mar-a-Lago documents case against former President Donald Trump on August 25 have been tentatively canceled by US District Judge Aileen Cannon.
In her ruling, Cannon stated that the proceeding would be held under seal at a later date “to discuss sensitive, security-related issues regarding classified discovery.”
Cannon gave Carlos De Oliveira, the most recent co-defendant in the case, until August 22 to submit any briefing he wants to provide on the proposed protective order, which will establish the guidelines for how classified evidence is handled in discovery.
“Cannon’s move to announce the hearing will be a sealed one comes even as court submissions weighing in on the prosecutor’s request for the protective order – known as a Section 3 motion under the Classified Information Procedures Act – have been filed publicly. It was not clear from the judge’s latest order whether she intended to publicly announce at a later date when and where the sealed hearing would be,” CNN reported.
“Lawyers for Trump and special counsel Jack Smith’s office disagree over the prosecutors’ proposed rules for where Trump can discuss with his lawyers classified evidence handed over to the defense. Trump has asked to be allowed to reestablish a secure facility at his residence that he used while he was president to hold such discussions, while Smith’s team has argued that such an accommodation would be unprecedented and that his Florida residence’s dual purpose as a “social club” makes such a set-up especially unworkable,” the outlet added.
Walt Nauta, a co-defendant and aide of Trump, is fighting Smith’s team’s suggestion that he get court or government approval before viewing some classified evidence on his own.
The charges against Trump, Nauta, and de Oliveira include numerous alleged obstruction-related offenses as well as several counts of improper handling of national defense information. All three have entered not-guilty pleas.
Cannon also recently tore into federal prosecutors and struck two of their filings.
Cannon demanded an explanation of “the legal propriety of using an out-of-district grand jury proceeding to continue to investigate and/or to seek post-indictment hearings on matters pertinent to the instant indicted matter in this district.”
In the filing, Cannon responded to the prosecution’s demand for a hearing to discuss potential conflicts of interest involving Stanley Woodward, the attorney for Trump’s ally Walt Nauta.
“A potential conflict exists because Mr. Woodward previously represented one witness and currently represents two other witnesses who the Government may call to testify at the trial of his client Nauta,” prosecutors wrote in a court filing last week.
The situation could leave Woodward “in the position of cross-examining past or current clients,” prosecutors added.
The prosecution must submit its response by Aug. 22.
Last week, Special Counsel Jack Smith’s team admitted to incorrectly stating they turned over evidence as required by law in the classified documents case against Trump.
Prosecutors discovered that video used as evidence “had not been processed and uploaded to the platform established for the defense to view” when they were getting ready to indict Mar-a-Lago property manager Carlos De Oliveira last week for allegedly conspiring with Trump to delete surveillance footage from the estate, Smith’s team wrote in a filing.
“The Government’s representation at the July 18 hearing that all surveillance footage the Government had obtained pre-indictment had been produced was therefore incorrect,” the prosecutors added.
“All CCTV footage obtained by the government has now been given to the defendants, according to Smith’s team. The so-called Brady rule requires prosecutors to disclose all evidence and information favorable to the defendant,” Just The News reported.
Last week, Smith filed a superseding indictment against Trump, which included new charges related to the willful retention of national defense information and obstruction. The prosecutors alleged that Trump and his aides were involved in instructing a staff member at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Florida to delete security camera footage deliberately. Smith alleged the action was taken with the intention of preventing the presentation of evidence to a federal grand jury.
Trump, however, denied the allegations categorically and said he ensured his legal team handed over any and all requested security footage unaltered.
In a separate case, Trump was indicted again by Smith stemming from his investigation into the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Trump faces several charges in that probe, including willful retention of national defense information, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and false statements.
Additionally, he was indicted on three additional counts as part of a superseding indictment issued in connection with the same investigation.