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Trump attends Florida hearing in special counsel's classified documents case

by SuperiorInvest

Former US President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference at Mar-a-Lago on February 8, 2024 in Palm Beach, Florida.

Joe Raedle | fake images

Former President Donald Trump arrived at a Florida federal court Monday morning for a closed-door hearing in the criminal case in which he is accused of taking hundreds of classified government documents with him when he left the White House.

The hearing before Judge Aileen Cannon will address protective orders related to classified information contained in those records.

About 30 Trump supporters gathered outside the Fort Pierce courthouse in anticipation of his arrival. Neither they nor other members of the public are allowed to attend Tuesday's proceedings.

Cannon, who was appointed to the federal bench by Trump, is scheduled to hear from defense attorneys only from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. ET, without prosecutors from Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith's office present. .

Trump can attend the hearing, but his co-defendants in the case, Walt Nauta and Carlos de Oliveira, cannot be there because they lack security clearance.

The hearing is held in a compartmentalized confidential information facility, commonly known as a SCIF, where classified material can be discussed and viewed securely without unauthorized persons being able to eavesdrop.

Nauta, who is Trump's valet, and de Oliveira, who was a maintenance worker at Trump's Mar-a-Lago club, are accused of helping Trump obstruct justice by trying to hide the classified documents. to government officials. The classified records were kept at that club in Palm Beach, Florida, where Trump resides.

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“Defense counsel should be prepared to discuss his or her defense theories of the case, in detail, and how any classified information might be relevant or useful to the defense,” Cannon wrote in an order setting the hearing schedule last week.

Trump's lawyers are also expected to discuss his motions to access court documents under the Classified Information Procedures Act.

Later that day, from 3 pm to 5 pm, the judge is scheduled to hear Smith's prosecutors on their CIPA motions and other points. Defense attorneys are not allowed to attend that session.

Cannon kept his record clear Tuesday in case further proceedings are necessary on the CIPA issues.

Trump and the other defendants have pleaded not guilty in the case, which is one of four criminal cases facing the former president.

Trump is the favorite for the Republican presidential nomination.

Last week, another Justice Department special counsel said he would not criminally prosecute President Joe Biden for keeping a much smaller amount of classified records and other material at his home in Wilmington, Delaware, after he left the vice president's office early. of 2017.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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