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Judge Cannon Deals Blow To Trump?

Nobody saw this coming.

In a recent development within the legal battle surrounding former President Trump’s documents case, U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon has largely favored special counsel Jack Smith’s stance on safeguarding specific information from Trump’s legal team as they gear up for trial.

The proceedings operate under the Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA), which empowers prosecutors to redact or summarize classified discovery before furnishing it to defendants. Judge Cannon, for the most part, supported the Justice Department’s plea to exercise these provisions. However, she deferred judgment on certain documents pertinent to the Mar-a-Lago case.

In her directive, Cannon stipulated, “No classified information not already agreed to be released by the Special Counsel shall be disseminated as a result of this unclassified Order.” This order permits prosecutors to enact selective redactions on specified after-action reports and furnish summaries of documents linked to potential government witnesses. Furthermore, Smith retains the authority to withhold certain documents deemed irrelevant or unhelpful to Trump’s defense.

Nevertheless, Cannon indicated that further hearings would be necessary to ascertain whether to withhold two sensitive intelligence reports associated with one of the documents Trump purportedly took, along with a subset of the after-action reports.

This ruling surfaces amidst increased scrutiny of Cannon’s handling of the case, particularly following a recent decision requesting both parties to draft proposed jury instructions. These instructions are to encompass a pivotal Trump defense, positing that the contested documents could be construed as his personal property under the Presidential Records Act. Despite Trump’s assertion, legal experts widely contest this interpretation, asserting that classified documents cannot be classified as personal property under existing law.

Moreover, Cannon has deferred judgment on several motions filed by Trump, including a motion to dismiss the case, and has yet to schedule a new trial date. Both parties have proposed postponing the trial originally set for May, with Trump suggesting a post-election trial date, while Smith advocates for a trial in July.