Judge Aileen Cannon Orders Trump and Jack Smith to File New Redactions

The federal judge overseeing the case involving former President Donald Trump’s classified documents has instructed both President Trump’s legal representatives and Special Prosecutor Jack Smith’s team to prepare themselves for the public release of materials.

This directive, issued on May 9, marks Judge Aileen Cannon’s first significant decision since she recently deferred the trial date indefinitely to address matters concerning classified evidence.

In her May 9 ruling, the judge mandated President Trump to adhere to a May 16 deadline for submitting, under seal, his current stance regarding the sealing of his two undocketed motions, along with associated responses, replies, and all accompanying exhibits. This submission must include proposed redactions to the filings.

Furthermore, the judge directed Mr. Smith’s team to submit “a brief notice indicating any final changes or revisions to his proposed seal/redaction requests as to the above-mentioned filings.”

These directives stem from a February motion filed by President Trump’s legal team, alleging unlawful procurement of evidence by prosecutors, among other claims of prosecutorial misconduct.

According to the May 9 order, redactions should be applied to “the names of potential witnesses or clearly identifying information, ancillary names,” and other details pertaining to “grand jury materials.”

Two days prior to that, Judge Cannon asserted in a five-page order that it would be “imprudent” to set a new trial date at this juncture, further clouding federal prosecutors’ prospects of bringing President Trump to trial before the November presidential election.

In this legal matter, the former 45th president confronts numerous felony charges alleging that he unlawfully retained classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, which he took from the White House after his departure in 2021. Additionally, he stands accused of impeding the FBI’s efforts to retrieve them. President Trump has entered a plea of not guilty and refutes any wrongdoing.

As he vies to return to the White House, President Trump contends with four criminal cases. However, apart from the prosecution in New York, it remains uncertain whether any of the other three will proceed to trial prior to the election.

The Supreme Court is deliberating President Trump’s assertions of immunity from federal prosecution in a distinct case brought by Mr. Smith, accusing him of conspiring to unlawfully overturn the 2020 presidential election. Separately, prosecutors in Fulton County, Georgia, have initiated legal proceedings concerning election subversion, although the timeline for a trial remains uncertain.

Simultaneously, President Trump is undergoing trial in New York on charges of allegedly falsifying business records in relation to payments purportedly made to silence several women regarding allegations during the 2016 election campaign. He has entered a plea of not guilty to these accusations.

In recent developments, Judge Juan Merchan, presiding over the trial, cautioned the former president about discussing certain individuals associated with the case while under a gag order. The judge imposed a tenth fine on the former president last week, citing a breach of the order.

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“If anything is mentioned against certain people, and you know who they are, certain people, anything’s even mentioned, he wants to put me in jail,” President Trump told reporters on May 10 after court ended for the day.

“And that could happen one day,” he said, adding that he would “be very proud to go to jail for our Constitution, because what [Judge Merchan is] doing is so unconstitutional.”

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By Hunter Fielding
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