(LibertySociety.com) – U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon ruled that former President Trump must utilize an accredited secure compartmented information facility (SCIF) to view sensitive documents in preparation for his upcoming trial in Florida. The order came after a sealed hearing with prosecutors and attorneys representing the former president and his co-defendants. Judge Cannon’s order said that classified information could not be shared with anyone besides the court and others who are authorized to view it. Trump’s team previously requested a new SCIF at his Mar-a-Lago residence due to the logistical impositions on the public and expenses incurred by the government each time he had to leave his home.
Smith opposed the home residence SCIF, although Mar-a-Lago previously housed one during Trump’s presidency. Judge Cannon did not discuss Mar-a-Lago in her ruling, rather, the order specifically said that a classified security officer designated by the court must establish the SCIF. Cannon also said that all classified documents would “remain classified unless the documents or material bear a clear indication” of declassification. She also made clear that the documents belong to the United States. However, she will allow the defense to challenge the “purported classification status of certain documents at issue,” as well as challenges presented involving the Presidential Records Act.
The trial is set to begin in May 2024, with the government being tasked with proving that the former President willfully and knowingly retained classified documents that he was not authorized to have. Smith indicted Trump on 40 counts, 32 of which pertain to his alleged retention of national security information. Trump has maintained his innocence and has voiced his belief that the Biden administration is attempting to interfere with the 2024 Presidential election. He pleaded not guilty to the charges from Smith and argues that he declassified the documents he retained before leaving office. He often cites the Presidential Records Act, which will most certainly be one line of defense throughout the case.
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