Federal Judge Aileen Cannon laid down the law on Wednesday about how Donald Trump and his legal team can interact with classified materials in the Mar-a-Lago documents case.
Earlier, in June, the ex-president faced 37 charges in a case tied to his treatment of classified materials post-presidency. This case sprung from a probe by Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith, which led to an FBI raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate last year. They discovered over 100 classified papers. Despite the evidence, Trump has repeatedly professed his innocence.
Judge Cannon’s recent directive specified that classified content stays classified unless there’s concrete proof of its declassification by the originating agency. Trump’s defense, however, can access the classified information, but strictly for case preparation.
Ty Cobb, once a part of Trump’s legal brigade, voiced to Newsweek that this order isn’t groundbreaking but the norm in such cases. But he did hint at inconsistencies in Trump’s defense, especially when the ex-president had earlier bragged about his ability to declassify government materials on a whim.
Palm Beach County State Attorney, Dave Aronberg, commented that Judge Cannon’s decision is a significant score for the government. He remarked humorously on the notion that mere mental intent couldn’t serve to declassify documents.
Bradley Moss, another attorney, mentioned to Newsweek that the judge’s order predominantly disregarded or refused Trump’s audacious requests. The notion is clear: unless Trump legally challenges the classification status of certain documents, they’re considered classified. Trump doesn’t have the authority to decide where or how they can be accessed.