Trump expected back in court for classified documents hearing in special secure Florida facility

Former President Trump is reportedly expected to appear in person Monday for a hearing in the classified documents case against him to be held in a specially equipped secure room in Florida. 

Trump is to be present for the hearing presided over by U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon that will be under seal and held in a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility or SCIF, designed for viewing classified documents, in Fort Pierce, Florida, ABC News reported, citing court documents. However, Trump’s co-defendants, aide Walt Nauta and Mar-a-Lago property manager Carlos De Oliveira, are not expected to be in attendance because they do not have the necessary clearance to access classified information. 

A court filing detailing the schedule said that Cannon, of the Southern District of Florida, will hear arguments Monday from attorneys for Trump, Nauta and De Oliveira on ‘defense theories of the case’ and how ‘any classified information might be relevant or helpful to the defense,’ according to the outlet. Special Counsel Jack Smith will then present arguments to Cannon when Trump’s attorneys are no longer present. Cannon requested that both parties set aside Tuesday for further proceedings ‘as necessary.’

Trump and Smith’s legal teams have frequently disagreed during pretrial hearings over how much discovery should be redacted or entirely shielded from public view in court filings. Last week, Smith filed a motion urging Cannon to reconsider her prior ruling requiring that his team file a cache of documents on the public docket. 

Smith said in the motion last week that federal authorities were looking into a series of threats made online to a potential witness connected to the classified documents investigation and asked the judge to allow his team to file an exhibit under seal. 

‘The exhibit describes in some detail threats that have been made over social media to a prospective Government witness and the surrounding circumstances, and the fact that those threats are the subject of an ongoing federal investigation being handled by a United States Attorney’s Office,’ the filing said. ‘Disclosure of the details and circumstances of the threats risks disrupting the investigation.’ 

Trump told Fox News Digital last week that Smith needs to ‘immediately’ drop all charges against him in his classified records case following the decision not to bring charges against President Biden for his retention of sensitive national security documents.

Special Counsel Robert Hur’s report was made public last week. Hur did not recommend criminal charges against Biden for mishandling and retaining classified documents and stated that he would not bring charges against Biden even if he were not in the Oval Office.

Those records included classified documents about military and foreign policy in Afghanistan, among other records related to national security and foreign policy, which Hur said implicated ‘sensitive intelligence sources and methods.’ 

The Hur report also sparked further concern over Biden’s age and mental faculties, as the special counsel noted serious discrepancies in the 81-year-old president’s memory.

Trump, on the other hand, was charged out of Smith’s investigation related to his retention of classified materials. Trump pleaded not guilty to all 37 felony charges out of Smith’s probe. The charges include willful retention of national defense information, conspiracy to obstruct justice and false statements.

Trump, the 2024 GOP front-runner, was then charged with an additional three counts as part of a superseding indictment out of Smith’s investigation — an additional count of willful retention of national defense information and two additional obstruction counts. Trump pleaded not guilty.

That trial is set to begin on May 20.

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