The federal judge overseeing the classified documents case against former President Donald Trump put a damper on Special Counsel Jack Smith’s victory in his separate case in Washington D.C.
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday shot down Trump’s bid to dismiss his federal election interference case based on presidential immunity. On the same day, District Court Judge Aileen Cannon, who is overseeing the other case against Trump in Florida, ruled that some discovery material that Smith wanted to keep under seal would be disclosed, reminding him “of the strong presumption of public access in criminal proceedings.”
“Following an independent review of the Motion and the full record, the Court determines, with limited exceptions as detailed below, that the Special Counsel has not set forth a sufficient factual or legal basis warranting deviation from the strong presumption in favor of public access to the records at issue,” Cannon, a Trump appointee, wrote.
Smith sought to keep under seal information that reveals the identity or personal identifying potential witnesses or could lead to “witness safety and intimidation” concerns.
“Although substantiated witness safety and intimidation concerns can form a valid basis for overriding the strong presumption in favor of public access, the Special Counsel’s sparse and undifferentiated Response fails to provide the Court with the necessary factual basis to justify sealing,” she wrote.
HOLD THE CHAMPAGNE JACK SMITH:
Judge Cannon, as expected, just threw cold water on DOJ’s win in DC appellate court today.
She grants in part Trump’s request to unseal some discovery that Jack Smith wants to keep under wraps: pic.twitter.com/ROiUc8Hm5a
— Julie Kelly (@julie_kelly2) February 7, 2024
“Notwithstanding the conventional filing procedure outlined in Local Rule 5.4(c), there shall be no filing under seal of any unclassified material in this case unless the party seeking to make a filing under full or partial seal first has sought and obtained permission from the Court through a motion for leave to file under seal,” the ruling states. “The motion for leave shall be filed publicly except in clear and supported cases of risk to personal safety or national security.”
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