Reports suggest that the 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.
Meanwhile, 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.
Woodward could be “in the position of cross-examining past or current clients,” prosecutors added. It is noted that the prosecution must submit its response by Aug. 22.