US District Judge Aileen Cannon has tentatively canceled plans to hold a hearing on August 25 for a protective order in the Mar-a-Lago documents case against former President Donald Trump.
The proceeding will instead be held under seal at a later date “to discuss sensitive, security-related issues regarding classified discovery,” according to Cannon’s ruling.
Carlos De Oliveira, the most recent co-defendant in the case has been granted until August 22 to submit any briefing he wishes to provide on the proposed protective order which will set out 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 President Trump, is contesting the suggestion by Smith’s legal team that he should seek court or government approval before viewing certain classified evidence. The three defendants are facing numerous charges related to alleged obstruction as well as counts of improper handling of national security information.
All three have maintained their innocence with not-guilty pleas entered into the court record.
Cannon recently criticized federal prosecutors and challenged their filings, demanding an explanation of the legality of using a grand jury from outside the district to investigate matters related to the indicted case.
In his filing, Cannon responded to the prosecution’s request for a hearing addressing any potential conflicts of interest involving Stanley Woodward, who is Trump’s ally Walt Nauta’s attorney.
“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 revealed that they had incorrectly stated that evidence had been properly turned over in the classified documents case against Trump.
Documents showed that video evidence being used as part of the prosecution “had not been processed and uploaded to the platform established for the defense to view” when indictments were issued against Mar-a-Lago property manager Carlos De Oliveira.
“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 President Trump, which included new charges related to the alleged withholding of national defense information and obstruction.
The prosecutors claimed that Trump and his aides instructed a staff member at his Mar-a-Lago property in Florida to delete security camera footage deliberately with the intention of preventing it from being presented as evidence before a federal grand jury.
He has denied all accusations, stating that he ensured his legal team provided all requested security footage unaltered.
President Donald Trump was indicted again by Smith in a separate case stemming from the investigation into the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. He is facing multiple charges, including willful retention of national defense information, conspiracy to obstruct justice and false statements.
Furthermore, a superseding indictment was recently issued with three additional counts linked to the same inquiry.