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Judge Denies Special Counsel’s Motion To Seal Witness List In Trump’s Classified Docs Trial

U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon denied Special Counsel Jack Smith’s motion Monday to seal a list of witnesses in former President Donald Trump’s upcoming trial on charges stemming from his handling of classified documents, according to multiple reports.

Smith’s request, which was opposed by a coalition of news organizations, according to The Hill, listed 84 witnesses whose identity Smith sought to keep confidential. Smith filed the motion before Judge Cannon Friday, along with a motion seeking to move the trial to December as opposed to the scheduled Aug. 14 trial date.

“The Government’s Motion does not explain why filing the list with the Court is necessary; it does not offer a particularized basis to justify sealing the list from public view; it does not explain why partial sealing, redaction, or means other than sealing are unavailable or unsatisfactory; and it does not specify the duration of any proposed seal,” Cannon wrote in the order.

FBI agents raided Mar-a-Lago, the Florida estate owned by Trump, Aug. 8 as part of an investigation into allegations that classified documents were improperly removed from the White House as Trump left office in January 2021.

Trump entered a plea of “not guilty” to all counts during his arraignment June 13, after the special counsel secured a grand jury indictment on 37 counts, including violations of the Espionage Act, that was unsealed June 9. Trump claimed the documents were declassified prior to the indictment.

Cannon, who Trump appointed to the federal bench in May 2020, will preside over the criminal case. Cannon previously ordered the appointment of a special master to review documents seized during the Aug. 8 raid, but the ruling was later overturned on appeal.

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