Jack Smith Fails to Persuade Aileen Cannon to Keep Trump Info Secret

Florida District Judge Aileen Cannon dismissed arguments from Special Counsel Jack Smith and granted the requests of Donald Trump’s legal team to unseal certain portions of the documents they are given in discovery.

Appointed to the court by Trump himself, Cannon was selected to oversee the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) criminal case against Trump concerning his alleged mishandling of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago resort after the end of his presidency. In an indictment from June, Trump was hit with a total of 37 counts initially, including 31 counts of willful retention of national defense information. He has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges and claimed that he was within his rights to retain all of the documents in question.

Special Counsel Jack Smith. Florida Judge Aileen Cannon was not persuaded by recent arguments Smith’s team made in favor of redacting information provided to Donald Trump’s legal team.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Throughout her time overseeing the case, Cannon has been accused by some observers of issuing decisions favorable to the former president who appointed her. In a Tuesday filing, Cannon once again ruled mostly in Trump’s favor when she dismissed Smith’s arguments for keeping certain classified information redacted in documents provided to Trump’s team during discovery, including the names of certain potential witnesses, the uncharged conduct of certain individuals, and the FBI codename for a separate investigation.

“Neither the Special Counsel’s publicly filed Response nor the accompanying sealed filing identifies the information it seeks to redact,” Cannon’s decision explained. “Although ‘protection of a continuing law enforcement investigation’ can constitute a compelling governmental interest…the Special Counsel fails to identify the information at issue, provide any explanation about the nature of the investigation, or explain how disclosure of the code name would prejudice or jeopardize the integrity of the separate investigation (assuming it remains ongoing).”

Cannon did, however, cede to Smith’s office that certain information about “signals intelligence sub-compartments” included in the superseding indictment that added new charges against Trump in July could remain redacted, due to national security concerns.

“The Court determines at this stage that the Special Counsel’s national security
concerns are sufficient and specific to warrant sealing of the ‘signals intelligence
sub-compartments’ as redacted in the Superseding Indictment,” the filing added.

Newsweek reached out to the DOJ press office via email for comment.

The effort by Trump’s team to unseal certain information in discovery documents previously received a boost after a coalition of media organizations, including The Associated Press, The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, Fox News, the Miami Herald, and The Palm Beach Post, filed a motion urging the court to make sure the redactions were fully justified. The motion was denied as moot in the Tuesday decision, as the ruling accomplished its requests anyway.