BY StaffJune 27, 2023
1 year ago
BY 
 | June 27, 2023
1 year ago

Trump judge rejects request to keep 84 witnesses a secret

A federal judge has denied a request to keep the names of 84 witnesses confidential in the case against former President Donald Trump, who is charged with mishandling classified documents.

This significant development in the case was reported by The Western Journal. The request to keep the witness list secret was made by special counsel Jack Smith, who is leading the government's case against Trump. The former president has been instructed not to contact any witnesses or discuss the case with his co-defendant, longtime aide Walt Nauta.

Request for secrecy denied

The prosecutors asked for the witness list to be kept confidential, and for Trump to sign a document acknowledging that he understood he could not contact those on the list. However, U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon, who was appointed by Trump in 2020, rejected this request on Monday.

In her ruling, Judge Cannon stated that the government's motion did not provide a sufficient explanation as to why the list needed to be filed with the court, why it should be sealed from public view, why other means such as partial sealing or redaction were not satisfactory, or the duration of any proposed seal.

Public reaction to the ruling

The ruling has sparked reactions on social media. Journalist Julie Kelly, who has a following of 440,000 on Twitter, described the ruling as a "smackdown." She also pointed out the outrage among leftist media outlets and politicians when it was announced that Judge Cannon had been selected for the case.

Another Twitter user, "The Last Refuge," suggested that the attempt to keep the witness list secret was a trap to prevent Trump from speaking publicly, in case one of the 84 witnesses saw a communication from the defendant on television.

Media organizations file for public access

On the same day as Judge Cannon's ruling, a group of news media organizations filed a motion to make the witness list public, describing the case as "one of the most consequential criminal cases in the nation's history." They argued that the American public's interest in the case and the need to monitor its progress could not be overstated.

David Aaron, a former Justice Department lawyer who has prosecuted national security cases, cautioned against reading too much into each procedural order. He noted that there would be many such orders throughout the trial, which are part of the normal administrative and scheduling process.

Special counsel's request deemed unusual

Joseph A. DeMaria, a former federal prosecutor in Miami, said the special counsel's request was outside of common practice. He told The Washington Post that in Florida, it is not customary to file such documents under seal.

The order barring Trump from contacting witnesses might mean less than it seems, according to attorney Mark Zaid. He noted that Trump's post-arraignment speech was "just one of any number of atypical circumstances that will plague this case."

Monitoring Trump's public speeches

Zaid suggested that the court will need to monitor Trump's public speeches to determine if private, forbidden messages are being sent. If Trump makes comments at an event attended by Nauta, or perhaps through television or social media, and it appears that very clear messages are being made that would be deemed inappropriate if the two were meeting privately, Zaid expects prosecutors to revisit this issue before the judge for further clarification or expansion of the scope of the gag order.

Implications of the ruling

The implications of this ruling are significant. It means that the names of the 84 witnesses will be made public, and Trump will know who they are. This could potentially influence the way the defense prepares for the trial. It also sets a precedent for transparency in a case that is of great public interest.

The decision also raises questions about the special counsel's strategy. Why did they want to keep the witness list secret? Was it to protect the witnesses, or was there another reason? These are questions that will likely be explored as the case progresses.

Looking ahead and key points

Looking ahead, it will be interesting to see how this decision impacts the trial. Will the defense try to challenge the ruling? Will the public disclosure of the witness list lead to any unexpected developments? These are questions that will be answered in the coming weeks and months.

  • A federal judge has denied a request to keep the names of 84 witnesses confidential in the case against former President Donald Trump.
  • The request was made by special counsel Jack Smith, who is leading the government's case against Trump.
  • U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon, who was appointed by Trump in 2020, rejected the request.
  • The ruling has sparked reactions on social media, with some describing it as a "smackdown."
  • On the same day as Judge Cannon's ruling, a group of news media organizations filed a motion to make the witness list public.
  • The implications of this ruling are significant, as it means that the names of the 84 witnesses will be made public, and Trump will know who they are.

Please consider sharing this article on Twitter and Facebook to keep the conversation going.

Written by: Staff

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