The judge overseeing former President Donald Trump‘s classified documents case handed federal prosecutors a partial victory Tuesday in a months long dispute by granting their request to keep the names of government witnesses sealed.

The 24-page order from U.S. District Judge Aileen came in response to special counsel Jack Smith’s request for reconsideration of a previous order of hers that the government said could lead to publicly identifying more than two dozen potential government witnesses in the Florida case.

Under Cannon’s new order, the names of potential witnesses will be redacted, though significant portions of witness statements to investigators may be made public.

Cannon said the redactions of identifiable information would address Smith’s safety concerns for potential witnesses, making it unnecessary to grant Smith’s “wholesale request to seal non-identifying substantive witness statements.”

She also criticized Smith in her order, arguing that his arguments and evidence should have been raised in earlier.

“Although the record is clear that the Special Counsel could have, and should have, raised its current arguments previously, the Court elects, upon a full review of those newly raised arguments, to reconsider its prior Order,” Cannon said.

A spokesperson for Smith’s office declined to comment on the order and instead pointed to the special counsel’s court filings on the matter. Trump’s lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday night.

The issue over the redactions first arose when Trump’s team sought permission to file an unredacted version of a motion to compel discovery from the government, claiming that parts of the Biden administration and the intelligence community should be considered part of Smith’s prosecution team.

Trump’s team attached exhibits to the sealed version of the motion, which included names and statements of potential government witnesses. Smith opposed Trump’s request to unseal a motion containing identifiable information.

In March, Cannon heard arguments about Smith’s motion to reconsider her previous order about unsealing the names of potential government witnesses, arguing that it would lead to witnesses being threatened and harassed.

“This is not a hypothetical concern,” said David Harbach, an attorney for the special counsel’s team, at last month’s hearing. “It’s a real concern, and they know it.”

One of Trump’s lawyers, Emil Bove, countered that they were “not here to try to harm people or to cause harassment to anyone.” Rather, Trump’s lawyers argued at the hearing that they included witness information to support their arguments.

Public versions of Trump’s motion to compel discovery and the accompanying exhibits will be made available by April 22, according to Cannon’s order. The case, which focuses on allegations that Trump mishandled classified documents, does not yet have a trial date.

Trump is accused of willfully retaining national defense information and being part of a scheme to delete security video. The former president faces more than three dozen charges and has pleaded not guilty to all of them.

The case is one of Trump’s four criminal indictments. He also faces charges related to allegations of conspiring to defraud the U.S. by working to subvert 2020 presidential election results and falsifying business records connected to hush money payments to an adult film star. He has pleaded not guilty to all of those charges as well.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *