Jack Smith hands over first batch of classified material in Trump documents case

September 15, 2023

Special Counsel Jack Smith has turned over the first batch of classified materials to former President Trump and his attorneys in the classified documents case. 

According to a filing on Thursday, Smith’s team notified U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon that they’d made first production of classified discovery on Wednesday—the same day that Cannon had issued a 16-page protective order regarding the classified information that’s disclosed to the Trump team. 

Cannon’s protective order laid out a series of restrictions about where and how Trump can review and discuss the classified information with his lawyers as they prepare for trial. The order dictates that all classified information disclosed to or “produced, possessed, created or maintained” by Trump and his attorneys must be stored in a secure facility established by a court-designated information security order. 

The judge further warned that “any unauthorized disclosure or mishandling of classified information may constitute violations of federal criminal law,” and a breach of the protective order could result in “termination of an individual’s access to classified information.”

On June 13, Trump pleaded not guilty to 37 criminal counts brought by a Florida grand jury in Smith’s investigation. The charges include 31 counts for willful retention of national defense secrets in violation of the Espionage Act, as well as one count each of making false statements, conspiracy to obstruct justice, withholding a document or record, corruptly concealing a document or record, concealing a document in a federal investigation, and a scheme to conceal. 

The 44-page indictment, notes that the FBI in its August 2022 raid of Trump’s Florida residence, Mar-a-Lago, agents found more than 100 documents marked classified during their search of the property. Boxes were stored in places such as a ballroom, a bathroom, a shower, an office space, his bedroom and a storage room, and included classified information from such federal agencies as the CIA, Pentagon, NSA, and the National Reconnaissance Office, among others.

In its Thursday filing, Smith’s team said that some of the turned-over materials can be viewed by Trump’s lawyers who have received interim clearances, but other documents require them to have “final clearances with additional necessary read-ins into various compartments.” Highly classified information is often “compartmentalized” to limit the number of officials who have access to it.

Judge Cannon has set a May 20 trial date in the classified documents case at the U.S. District Court for Southern Florida.

It’s one of four ongoing prosecutions of the former President, who altogether faces a total of 91 criminal counts at both the federal level and at the state level in Georgia and New York.

Read more exclusive news from Political IQ.

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