(TheProudRepublic.com) – In a new legal win for Donald Trump and a blow to the US Justice Department, a federal judge has ordered certain materials in the former president’s classified documents case to be made public despite Special Counsel Jack Smith trying to keep them secret.
The decision by District Court Judge Aileen Cannon, who oversees Trump’s federal trial in Florida for alleged misuse of US government papers, came on the same day as a ruling by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, which snubbed the former president’s immunity claims in his 2020 election subversion trial.
Cannon’s ruling is a significant development that seems to counteract the recent triumph of Special Counsel Jack Smith in a different legal battle in Washington DC, The Daily Caller comments in a report.
The decision by the Florida-based judge goes against Smith’s request to keep certain discovery materials confidential, with her ruling pointing out to him “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 noted in her ruling.
The materials Smith wished to keep secret included information that could reveal the identities of witnesses or endanger their safety.
However, Cannon, a Trump appointee, found Smith’s arguments insufficient for justifying such a sealing of documents.
“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 explained.
Moreover, Judge Cannon established a guideline for the sealing of documents, stating that no unclassified material could be filed under seal without the court’s explicit permission, which must be requested through a formally submitted motion.
“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,” her ruling demands.
This motion, except under circumstances involving clear risks to personal safety or national security, must be made available to the public.