The classified documents case against former President Donald Trump faced setbacks as the federal judge overseeing the trial made multiple rulings against Special Counsel Jack Smith’s efforts in a recent brief.
Judge Aileen Cannon, presiding over the case in the Southern District of Florida, denied the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) request to keep sealed filings, striking two from the record. Additionally, Cannon requested further information from prosecutors regarding the use of an out-of-state grand jury to investigate the case.
In the brief, Cannon stated, “The Special Counsel states in conclusory terms that the supplement should be sealed from public view ‘to comport with grand jury secrecy,’ but the motion for leave and the supplement plainly fail to satisfy the burden of establishing a sufficient legal or factual basis to warrant sealing the motion and supplement.” Consequently, the DOJ’s request was denied.
Cannon also emphasized that the response from prosecutors should address the legality of using an out-of-district grand jury to continue the investigation or seek post-indictment hearings on matters relevant to the indicted matter in the district.
This filing was made in response to the special counsel’s request for a hearing to review defense attorney Stanley Woodward’s potential conflicts of interest. Woodward, who represents Trump aide Waltine Nauta, a co-defendant in the case, also represents three individuals who may testify in the trial.
Cannon set a deadline of August 17 for Nauta’s counsel to file a response to the motion for a hearing and until August 22 for prosecutors to file a brief supporting the hearing.
The recent developments in the case occurred approximately nine months ahead of the scheduled trial, which is set to begin in May 2024 during the Republican presidential primaries.
Trump faces 37 counts, including charges of willful retention of national defense information, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and making false statements. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Nauta, charged with six counts, including conspiracy to obstruct justice, has also pleaded not guilty. Carlos De Oliveira, the third defendant, a property manager at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Palm Beach, Florida, is accused by the special counsel of colluding with Trump to conceal security footage.
Special Counsel Jack Smith expressed the Department of Justice’s commitment to upholding the rule of law, stating, “Adherence to the rule of law is a bedrock principle of the Department of Justice. And our nation’s commitment to the rule of law sets an example for the world. We have one set of laws in this country, and they apply to everyone. Applying those laws, collecting facts, that’s what determines the outcome of an investigation, nothing more, nothing less.”
Smith also commended the prosecutors in his office for their expertise and ethical standards in investigating the case, assuring that they will continue to uphold these standards throughout the proceedings.
Article generated from corporate media reports.