Judge Aileen Cannon on Monday threw out Special Counsel Jack Smith’s request for secrecy in a filing related to the classified documents investigation pertaining to former President Donald Trump.
In legal documents submitted to the court, the Special Counsel raised concerns about “potential conflicts of interests that may arise from attorney Stanley Woodward, Jr.’s prior and current representation of three individuals the Government may call to testify at the trial of his client Waltine Nauta.”
In addition, the Special Counsel sought permission to file a “supplement” under seal, containing further information aimed at aiding the court’s inquiry. The supplement, according to the Special Counsel, needed to be kept from public view “to comport with grand jury secrecy.” However, the court found the motion and supplement did not meet the necessary legal or factual thresholds to warrant sealing.
As a result, the Special Counsel’s motion to file under seal was denied. The court also directed the clerk to remove sealed entries 95 and 96 from the docket.
The court has instructed Waltine Nauta to file a response to the motion for a Garcia hearing by August 17, 2023. The response should address, among other things, the legal propriety of using an out-of-district grand jury proceeding to further investigate or to request post-indictment hearings on matters pertinent to the currently indicted issue in this district.
The Special Counsel is to respond to Nauta’s argument in a Reply in Support of the Motion, due by August 22, 2023. Other defendants in the case have the option, but not the obligation, to file their own briefs concerning the grand jury issue by August 17, 2023, which can be submitted either collectively or individually.
The court issued this order from chambers in Fort Pierce, Florida, on August 7, 2023.
Journalist Julie Kelly provided her commentary on the legal development.
Cannon also won’t tolerate DOJs nonstop requests for secrecy. She already denied a govt motion asking to keep names of 80+ witnesses under seal. pic.twitter.com/3BIZLcNOUe
— Julie Kelly 🇺🇸 (@julie_kelly2) August 7, 2023
“I told you Judge Cannon is legit,” Kelly remarked. “She is not going to tolerate Jack Smith’s bullsh*t. This is gold–she asks defense to raise possible grand jury abuse by DOJ for conducting nearly all of the investigation in DC then switching to FLA at last minute for indictment.”
“Cannon also won’t tolerate DOJs nonstop requests for secrecy,” Kelly added. “She already denied a govt motion asking to keep names of 80+ witnesses under seal.”
“This relates to DOJs request for a Garica hearing — an attempt to get Stanley Woodward, Nauta’s attorney, bounced from the case,” she added. “Recall Smith’s lawyer Jay Bratt is accused of threatening Woodward over judgeship application if he didn’t get Nauta to cooperate.”
Politico reporter Kyle Cheney also remarked on the special counsel hearing.
Judge CANNON comes out swinging at special counsel this morning, striking two of prosecutors’ sealed filings and demanding an explanation of “the legal propriety of using an out-of-district grand jury proceeding to continue to investigate” the docs case https://t.co/jawTpEvPWq pic.twitter.com/OciEt2vJql
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) August 7, 2023
“Judge CANNON comes out swinging at special counsel this morning, striking two of prosecutors’ sealed filings and demanding an explanation of ‘the legal propriety of using an out-of-district grand jury proceeding to continue to investigate’ the docs case,” he reported.
Pundit Matt Beebe also weighed in on the legal development.
I think we will see very soon if Trump’s lawyers are going to successfully push back on DOJ or keep getting pushed around by them. Judge Cannon isn’t going to rescue them, but she is giving them a fair chance. pic.twitter.com/dHNwcRt7pM
— Matt Beebe (@TheMattBeebe) August 7, 2023
“I think we will see very soon if Trump’s lawyers are going to successfully push back on DOJ or keep getting pushed around by them,” he remarked. “Judge Cannon isn’t going to rescue them, but she is giving them a fair chance.”
Jack Smith last week urged Judge Cannon not to further delay Trump’s classified documents case, which is scheduled to begin on May 20 next year.