Cannon held two separate closed-door court hearings Monday in Florida as part of proceedings involving classified evidence related to Trump's federal classified documents case.
Officials allege the former president kept documents containing national security secrets at his Florida home at Mar-a-Lago after he left office and blocked a federal investigation into how those records fell outside the strict channels for handling such information.
As part of that process, Cannon scheduled a four-and-a-half-hour hearing Monday with Trump's legal team, where he and his two co-defendants' attorneys — outside the presence of lawyers — were expected to present theories the defense could use. At trial.
Defense attorneys were expected to explain to Cannon why they should be allowed access to various types of classified evidence that could support that defense.
Trump was not required to attend Monday's hearing, but chose to do so anyway — continuing his role's recent trend of showing up at court proceedings in an apparent attempt to highlight his claims of harassment. It was the first time he would meet face-to-face with Cannon, whose nomination to the bench was confirmed days after the 2020 election. So far, Trump has not appeared before the judges presiding over his federal criminal cases.
The meetings come amid mounting complaints by prosecutors about Cannon's actions in the case. In the filings, they warned the judge that they would be at risk if the recent ruling to release the identities of trial witnesses was not overturned. They also used a recent filing to dispel what they said was a distorted version of events that they said risked rooting without pushback.
Cannon was also scheduled to hold a two-hour session with prosecutors in the presence of Trump's legal team on Monday. The debate will include the potential consequences of providing Trump and his co-defendants with the evidence they seek, as well as so-called substitutions for some of the evidence — such as redacting the names of certain countries or the details of some key intelligence sources. It will be sufficient for the defendants to convey their views to the court.
Cannon asked both parties to keep their calendars open for Tuesday if they needed more time to work through the classified evidence issues.
Due to the nature of the discussions, they must take place in a location authorized to discuss certain sensitive national security secrets controlled by the US government. The need for access to highly sensitive information has complicated and delayed some of the earlier proceedings in this case.
The two-courtroom Fort Pierce federal court now appears to have approved such hearings, although it's unclear whether the designation would allow the judge to remain on the court as a permanent one or if it is temporary. Weekly court sessions.