Former US President Donald J. Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, USA, 04 April 2023. EFE/EPA/CRISTOBAL HERRERA-ULASHKEVIC

Judge grants 2 defendants access to classified material in Trump Mar-a-Lago documents case

Miami, USA, (EFE).- Federal Judge Aileen Cannon on Wednesday issued an order in favor of the two co-defendants in the case against former United States President Donald Trump for mishandling classified documents found in his possession after leaving the White House.

In a motion filed with the court on Wednesday, the judge granted access to the classified documents in question to Waltine Nauta, Trump’s personal assistant, and Carlos de Oliveira, the administrator of Mar-a-Lago, the former president’s residence in Palm Beach, Florida, in order to prepare their defense.

In doing so, the judge, who was elected during Trump’s term in office (2017-2021), ruled against the request of special prosecutor Jack Smith, who invoked Section 3 of the Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA) to almost completely limit access to such documents to the two co-defendants.

Lawyers for Trump and prosecutors appeared in a Florida federal court on Wednesday for an oral hearing that included arguments for and against delaying the start of the former president’s trial.

In a federal court in Fort Pierce, north of Miami, the defense insisted on its request to delay the start of this process until after the general election of 2024, in which Trump is expected to be the candidate for the Republican Party.

At present, and according to all polls of voting intentions, the former president is the clear favorite in the primary process of this party for the November elections next year.

At the center of this discussion is the limited access that Trump’s legal team claims to have had to “significant portions” of the material that has been marked classified by the lawyers of special prosecutor Smith, who is hearing this case.

After initial reluctance, Smith’s team approved setting up for Trump’s lawyers what they call a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF), which is equipped with strong security measures and where it is possible to review highly classified material.

According to ABC News, the former president and his lawyers on Tuesday conducted what is presumably the first review of the documents in one of these facilities in Miami, which included some of those seized by the FBI during a search of Trump’s Palm Beach residence in August 2022.

In June, Trump made his first appearance in federal court in Miami during which he pleaded not guilty to 37 charges related to the handling of official documents, including some with information related to national security, at his Mar-a-Lago residence after leaving the White House in January 2021.

In this process, he faces federal crimes of obstruction and willful withholding of official documents related to US security, which are punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

The former president faces four criminal cases against him and has indicated that all are politically motivated because he is a “front-runner” in the November 2024 elections.

The four cases are a federal indictment on classified documents charges in Florida, a federal indictment in 2020 election interference case, a state indictment in 2020 election interference case in Georgia and a state indictment related to hush money paid to a former adult film actress in New York.

The trial in Florida is scheduled to begin on May 20, 2024. EFE