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Home High profile The judge in charge of the Mar-a-Lago case has told the government and the defense to make edits and suggestions for releasing a batch of 'grand jury materials' and secret Trump motions

The judge in charge of the Mar-a-Lago case has told the government and the defense to make edits and suggestions for releasing a batch of 'grand jury materials' and secret Trump motions

In addition to the two Trump motions, the request pertains to 'specific grand jury material implicated in this proceeding' and 'pending disclosure proceedings' in a district court based in Washington, D.C.

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Donald Trump, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, special counsel Jack Smith

Left: Donald Trump (AP Photo/Mike Stewart), File); Center: U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon (U.S. Senate); Right: Special counsel Jack Smith (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

The judge overseeing the Mar-a-Lago documents case has instructed the parties to prepare for the public release of two long-sealed defense motions as well as the potential release of various other filings concerning certain “grand jury matters” and “materials.”

In a little-noticed order released late Thursday, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon formalized the results of a hearing held the day before that concerned an unidentified series of older and more recent, sealed government filings and two specific defense motions.

“Among other topics, the parties presented argument on the need for continued sealing of certain grand jury materials associated with Defendant Trump’s two undocketed motions: (1) Motion for Relief Relating to the Mar-a-Lago Raid and Unlawful Piercing of the Attorney-Client Privilege; and (2) Motion to Dismiss Based on Prosecutorial Misconduct and Due Process Violations,” the order reads.

As previously reported, the motion seeking relief over the raid of the 45th president’s Palm Beach-based quasi-home-and-business alleges the government unlawfully obtained evidence in violation of the attorney-client privilege and seeks either suppression of such evidence or dismissal of the indictment due to alleged prejudice.

The motion to dismiss was filed — along with four other motions to dismiss filed publicly — on Feb. 22 and alleges the government engaged in pre-indictment delay and grand jury abuses.

Those two motions likely contain a significant amount of information the government would rather not be made public.

During the May 8 hearing, prosecutors on the team led by special counsel Jack Smith made arguments related to the government’s proposed redactions in order for the motions to be released publicly.

The defense is now being directed to suggest their own redactions.

More Law&Crime coverage: The Trump Docket: Mar-a-Lago judge puts Jack Smith on the ropes with hearing schedule as ex-president receives reprieve

“Defendant Trump shall submit under seal, but not ex parte, his current position on the sealing of his two undocketed motions, the associated responses and replies, and all accompanying exhibits,” the court’s order reads. “This submission shall consist of proposed ‘red box’ redactions to the above-mentioned filings, exhibit by exhibit, as well as contain a chart/list indicating the bases for all proposed redactions. Defendant Trump shall review the Special Counsel’s proposed ‘red box’ redactions when conducting this exercise.”

Both the government and the defense have until May 16 to issue their first set of proposed changes related to the motions.

In each instance, “the names of potential witnesses or clearly identifying information, ancillary names,” and personally identifiable information should be redacted, the court further ordered.

More coverage of legal issues: The judge in the Trump hush-money case has told prosecutors that Cohen should avoid discussing the trial on TikTok as it is becoming a problem every day.

The request is about eight numbered docket entries which were discussed during the hearing but were not otherwise identified.

In the initial order for the hearing, Cannon indicated that at least one of those documents was submitted under seal by the government.

While the exact content of those documents is currently being kept private, the judge previously described three of those documents broadly as 'specific grand jury material implicated in this proceeding in light of the Special Counsel’s sealed status report' and 'updates to pending disclosure proceedings in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.'

Concerning the other documents, the court granted the government and the defense until May 20 to 'discuss and jointly submit a status report presenting their respective positions on continued sealing.'

More legal coverage: Jack Smith asks the Mar-a-Lago judge to redact defense motions because they contain witness names and sealed grand jury information, emphasizing the importance of safety and privacy.

The special counsel’s office has strongly opposed keeping certain information in the case confidential. Cannon has faced significant criticism from the prosecution and legal experts for her preliminary decisions that allowed the publication of witnesses' names. tentative decisions that allowed publishing witnesses’ names.

In early April, Cannon reluctantly reversed her previous decisions.

In an order expressing disapproval of the government’s understanding of the law, the judge agreed to keep the names of potential government witnesses confidential. While conveying her displeasure in her order by largely granting the government's requests and some defense requests, Cannon also laid the groundwork for potentially revisiting the issue in the future should it arise and be ruled differently by the relevant federal court of appeals.


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