Judge in President Trump’s classified files case agrees to redact names of witnesses, grants prosecution request



Classified The case does not yet have a firm trial date, but both sides say it could be ready as early as this summer.

The images included in the indictment against former President Donald Trump are kept in the bathroom and shower stall of the Lake Room at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago mansion in Palm Beach, Florida. A record box is shown. Department of Justice, via Associated Press

By Eric Tucker, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) – A federal judge will preside over the case.Classified document lawsuit against former President Donald TrumpIt granted prosecutors’ requests Tuesday aimed at protecting the identities of potential government witnesses.

However, U.S. District Judge Eileen Cannon said there was no basis for such a “total” and “total” restriction on the inclusion of witness statements in pretrial motions, and categorically ruled against the release of witness statements. refused to stop it.

The 24-page order centers on a dispute between special counsel Jack Smith’s team and Mr. Trump’s lawyers over how much information about witnesses and their statements can be released before trial. The disagreement, which had been pending for weeks,One of many things piled up in front of the cannonAnd it slowed the pace of the case against Trump, one of four charges he faces.

The case does not yet have a firm trial date, but both sides say it could be ready as early as this summer.Canon from earlierfaced fierce criticismover her decision to grant President Trump’s request for review by an independent arbitrator.Documents obtained during FBI raidMar-a-Lago’s congresswoman on Tuesday expressed continued skepticism of the government’s prosecution theory, saying the case raises “undeveloped and somewhat confusing questions.”

Mr. Cannon reconsidered his previous order and sided with the prosecution on protecting the identities of witnesses, joining Mr. Smith’s team, who argued that another order from the judge last week was “fundamentally flawed.” It is highly likely that a dramatic worsening of tensions could have been avoided.

The issue comes after defense lawyers in January asked prosecutors to turn over a trove of documents that support their claims that the Biden administration tried to “weaponize” the government in prosecuting Trump. The motion came to light after it was submitted in a partially redacted form.

Defense attorneys asked for permission to submit information obtained from prosecutors in largely unredacted form to the motion as attachments. But prosecutors objected to making the motion public to the extent that it would reveal the identities of potential government witnesses.

Cannon then granted the defense’s request to submit the motion and its evidence in unredacted form as long as the witnesses’ identifying information remains sealed. Smith’s team called for reconsideration, saying witnesses could be exposed to intimidation and harassment if publicly identified.

In agreeing to continue redacting the names of witnesses on Tuesday, she wrote: “While the record is clear that the special counsel could have and should have raised the current allegations earlier, the court has fully considered the new allegations. elect,” reconsidering previous orders. ”

Still, the order was not a complete victory for prosecutors.

Cannon denied Smith’s team’s request to seal all witness statements from pretrial motions, except for information that could be used to identify witnesses.

“With respect to legal authority, the incidents cited in the special counsel’s document do not support this broad request, nor do they appear to have been so provided,” Cannon wrote. ing. “And based on the court’s independent review, granting this request would be unprecedented. I can’t find a case where the court has allowed something similar.”

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