US News

Trump in Fla. court for closed-door hearing in classified-documents case

Former President Donald Trump on Monday attended a closed-door hearing in a hyper-secure area of a Florida courthouse for his classified-documents case.

Trump spent about five hours at the hearing — overseen by District Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee — in a highly secure room known as a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility at the federal courthouse in Fort Pierce, the New York Times said.

The session was said to have focused on a law that protects classified information from being disclosed in court.

Lawyers representing Trump and his two co-defendants, Walt Nauta and Carlos De Oliveira, were to present arguments on how classified information “might be relevant or helpful to the defense.”

Nauta, a Trump valet, and De Oliveira, the property manager of the ex-president’s estate in West Palm Beach, Fla., was not scheduled to be in attendance because they do not have security clearance to hear classified information.

Special counsel Jack Smith was to have presented his arguments for keeping classified information secret.

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a Get Out The Vote rally at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, S.C., Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024
Donald Trump arrived in court for a hearing in Fort Pierce, Fla., in his classified documents case Monday. AP

Cannon previously ruled that the Department of Justice must release unredacted documents in the case at the request of Trump and media organizations.

Smith filed a motion with the judge Thursday asking her to reconsider her order, arguing that filing the discovery material on a public docket without redaction would reveal the identities of potential witnesses, “exposing them to significant and immediate risks of threats, intimidation, and harassments.”

“These risks are far from speculative in this case,” Smith wrote in his filing. “Witnesses, agents, and judicial officers in this very case have been harassed and intimidated, and the further outing of additional witnesses will pose a similarly intolerable risk of turning their lives upside down.”

Trump, 77, was indicted in June for allegedly keeping hundreds of classified documents throughout his Mar-a-Lago property, including in a bathroom, and thwarting government efforts to retrieve them.

This image, contained in the indictment against former President Donald Trump, shows boxes of records stored in a bathroom and shower in the Lake Room at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla.
The former president is accused of mishandling classified records that were found at his Mar-a-Lago estate. AP

Nauta and De Oliveira are accused of helping their boss hide the documents.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges, claiming they are politically motivated.

The case is scheduled to go to trial on May 20 but could be delayed.

-Additional reporting by Ryan King

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