FORT PIERCE, Florida – Former President Donald Trump faced crucial hearings on Monday regarding access to evidence in the classified documents criminal case against him and others. The outcome of these hearings could impact whether the former president will stand trial before the November election.
The hearings took place at the federal courthouse in Fort Pierce, Florida, where Trump arrived Monday morning for a closed-door meeting with Judge Aileen Cannon. The special counsel’s team is scheduled to meet with Cannon in the afternoon, and neither hearing was open to the public. Defense lawyers argued for access to classified evidence that they or their clients have not yet seen, while prosecutors and intelligence agencies sought to keep this evidence from them due to its sensitivity.
The defense teams have been working diligently, preparing for the hearing and reviewing evidence in a sensitive compartmented information facility (SCIF) in Florida. In addition to the hearing, they face a major deadline for court filings in less than two weeks, as they continue to strategize for ways to delay the trial. The case, which involves classified evidence, requires careful oversight by the judge to ensure that defense teams can access the evidence they need while protecting national security secrets.
A hearing on March 1st with Cannon is expected to determine whether the trial can proceed as scheduled in May. Additionally, the special counsel’s office is seeking to keep the names of witnesses secret from the public, citing concerns about witness harassment. The tensions in the case extend beyond the defense teams’ access to evidence, and there have been threats against judges, prosecutors, and witnesses, prompting Smith to express frustration with attempts to delay the trial.
The former president has made it clear that he believes the drama about discovery and classified information should postpone the trial’s scheduled start date in May, underpinning several of his recent legal moves. However, the special counsel has expressed frustration with these attempts, alleging that the defense will stop at nothing to stall the adjudication of the charges against them.
The high stakes and the complex legal battle make the outcome of these hearings and the subsequent decisions crucial in determining the path forward for the case against Donald Trump and others involved.