Aileen Cannon Sets Private Hearing With Donald Trump’s Attorneys

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Judge Aileen Cannon is scheduled for a hearing with Donald Trump’s lawyers on February 12, according to new court documents.

Cannon, a federal judge in Florida, is presiding over the former president’s trial concerning his alleged mishandling of classified documents discovered at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach. The case was brought by the Department of Justice and Special Counsel Jack Smith, whose lawyers had a hearing Cannon on January 31 to discuss aspects of the case.

Trump was charged with 31 counts of willful retention of national defense information and one count each of conspiracy to obstruct justice, withholding a document or record, corruptly concealing a document or record, concealing a document in a federal investigation, a scheme to conceal and false statements and representations.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to all the charges, calling them politically motivated.

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event at Big League Dreams Las Vegas on January 27, 2024, in Las Vegas, Nevada. On February 12, Trump’s lawyers in his classified…


David Becker/Getty Images

The “ex parte” hearing on February 12 is related to Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA) motions filed by the DOJ in December. Last week, lawyers for the government reportedly made their case to Cannon for why some classified materials should be restricted from Trump and his two co-defendants, Walt Nauta and Carlos De Oliveira.

The CIPA is a statute that allows the government to argue for restricting classified evidence from a defendant to prevent the potential release of sensitive government information. This, according to the DOJ’s website, “applies both when the government intends to use classified information in its case-in-chief as well as when the defendant seeks to use classified information in his/her defense.”

Between 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. on February 12, Cannon is slated to hear arguments by Trump’s defense counsel, in which Nauta and Carlos De Oliveira may not be present. From 3 to 5 p.m., the court will hear arguments from the special counsel without the defense counsel present.

“Defense counsel shall be prepared to discuss their defense theories of the case, in detail, and how any classified information might be relevant or helpful to the defense,” per the new filing on Monday in the Southern District of Florida.

The next day, February 13, is being reserved if necessary for additional discussions.

“Cannon is drawing within the proverbial lines of what CIPA permits, as the statute does afford discretion to hear ex parte from the defense, but it is not the norm for judges to do so,” attorney Bradley Moss told Newsweek via email.

“What matters more than the process she is affording Mr. Trump is the substance of her rulings. If, as I expect, she rules in favor of the government, all Trump will have won is a time delay.”

On Friday, Smith filed a 67-page document rejecting a motion by Trump and the co-defendants for additional discovery.

“The defendants’ insinuations have scant factual or legal relevance to their discovery requests, but they should not stand uncorrected,” the prosecution motion said, in reference to Trump’s claims about the case being politically motivated.