The judge is hearing arguments about classified information in the case.
February 12, 2024, 2:54 p.m. ET
• 4 min reading
Former President Trump spent about four hours at a hearing Monday as part of the special counsel case against him over classified documents that was held at a secure facility because the materials at issue in the case were sensitive.
Trump left the hearing in Florida around 2:20 p.m. ET, which is being held in secret at a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) – a specially equipped secure room for reviewing top-secret material.
U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, who is overseeing the classified documents case, will hear arguments Monday on the “defense theories of the case” and how “any classified information could be relevant or helpful to the defense,” according to a court filing This detailed schedule is described.
After the appearance of Trump and his lawyers, special counsel Jack Smith is scheduled to present his arguments to Judge Canon outside the presence of Trump’s lawyers.
Trump’s co-defendants in the case, consultant Walt Nauta and Mar-a-Lago property manager Carlos De Oliveira, are not attending the hearing because they do not have authorization to access confidential information.
The judge also asked the parties to reserve Tuesday for further proceedings “as necessary.”
During the pretrial, arguments arose between Smith’s team and Trump’s lawyers over how much discovery information should be redacted – or completely withheld from the public – in certain court filings.
In this June 30, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump looks on during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC. Pool via Getty Images, FILE
Judge Cannon had previously ruled that Smith’s team must submit a cache of documents into the public record, but in a motion last week Smith asked Cannon to reconsider her decision, saying it would, among other things, reveal the names of potential witnesses in the case , “exposing them to significant and immediate risks of threats, intimidation and harassment.”
“These risks in this case are anything but speculative,” Smith argued in his filing. “Witnesses, agents and judicial officers have been harassed and intimidated in this case, and the continued appearances of additional witnesses will carry an equally intolerable risk of upending their lives.”
Smith asks the judge to suspend her sentence until the matter is resolved and suggests that if Cannon does not deviate from his course, he might try to appeal the ruling to a higher court.
The trial is currently scheduled to begin May 20, but ongoing disputes between the parties could delay that date.
Trump has been trying to postpone the trial for several months. In a filing last year, Trump’s lawyers argued that there should be no reason to expedite the trial because of the extraordinary nature of the case.
“Therefore, pursuant to 18 USC § 3161(h)(7)(A), due to the exceptional nature of this action, there is certainly no basis for expedited proceedings and the ends of justice are best served by a continuance,” wrote Trump’s lawyers.
Trump was impeached last June for allegedly refusing to return hundreds of classified documents and thwarting government efforts to get them back. The former president pleaded not guilty and denied any wrongdoing.