As former president Donald Trump juggles the multiple indictments and cases, he now has, including matters related to his campaign to secure the Republican presidential nomination and then take another stab at a White House stint next year, Trump and his legal team have requested that a judge allow the discussion of classified documents in his second indictment at a “secure location” at the Mar-a-Lago resort.
Lawyers for Team Trump are arguing that there will be “immense practical and logistical hurdles and costs” of having Mr. Trump travel to one of the sensitive compartmented information facilities.”
The facilities, referred to as SCIFs, are run by the courts and are locations where sensitive documents can be reviewed. Special sites like these are needed given the sensitivity of some documents and their nature as classified documents that relate to national security.
Attorneys for the former president also say that Mar-a-Lago was “a previously approved facility at or near his residence.”
Donald Trump Getting Special treatment?
Federal prosecutors, led by Special Counsel Jack Smith, have balked at the request and have accused the former chief executive of seeking special treatment, especially given that he owns the Mar-a-Lago resort. “In essence he [Trump] is asking to be the only defendant ever in a case involving classified information (at least to the government’s knowledge) who would be able to discuss classified information in a private residence,” federal prosecutor Jay I. Bratt wrote to the court.
They also argue that the resort is nowhere near the definition of a secure facility, given the public’s access to the place, which has “more than 25 guest rooms, two ballrooms, a spa, a gift store, exercise facilities, office space, and an outdoor pool and patio.” In addition, Bratt wrote that “the Mar-a-Lago club had hundreds of members and was staffed by more than 150 full-time, part-time and temporary employees” and that the club has seen dozens of social events, such as fundraisers, movie premieres, and weddings, that have drawn “tens of thousands of guests.”
Classified for a reason
The documents in question are the files the former president took after he stepped down from the White House in 2020. They include more than 30 files that touch on sensitive national security matters, as well as emails containing classified briefings Trump received while in office and “classified witness statements about then-President Trump’s knowledge about classified information.”
Also charged by federal prosecutors are Trump’s alleged two main conspirators, his valet Walt Nauta, and Mar-a-Lago property manager Carlos De Oliveira, both of whom have pleaded not guilty to all charges.
The presiding judge in the case is Judge Aileen Cannon, who was appointed by Trump. She has scheduled the trial to start on May 20 next year – finding a middle ground between federal prosecutors’ request to have the trial begin in December, and requests by the former president’s legal team to commence trials after the elections next year.
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