Trump appears in Florida court, fights for access to classified documents

Donald Trump he reportedly appeared in court Monday, claiming access to classified documents pertinent to a case accusing him of illegally retaining such materials after his presidency.

What happened: Trump and his legal team spent about five hours in federal district court in Fort Pierce, Florida, presenting their defense strategy to the judge Aileen Cannone. The goal of the closed-door hearing was to persuade the judge to allow Trump’s team access to highly classified materials identified by federal prosecutors as potential evidence, the New York Times reported Monday.

Special advisor Jack Smith, leading the prosecution, argued that the materials in question are irrelevant to Trump’s defense. This marked the first time Trump and Judge Cannon, Trump’s 2020 appointee, met in court.

Although the proceedings were closed to the public, dozens of Trump supporters gathered outside the courthouse, awaiting his arrival and departure. However, Trump, known for using court appearances as a campaign stop, has not interacted with his supporters.

Trump and his team are seeking access to classified material, which typically involves sources and methods of intelligence gathering in national security cases. Federal courts have a system, the Classified Information Procedures Act, for reviewing classified material that is part of a case without publicly disclosing its contents.

The prosecution presented its case to Judge Cannon on Jan. 31, arguing against sharing the material with the defense. The trial over the classified documents was initially scheduled for May, but likely won’t begin until after the November election.

See also: Kim Jong Un says he has legitimate right to destroy ‘primary enemy’ South Korea: ‘Peace is not something that should be begged for’

Because matter: This case comes on the heels of a similar investigation into the President Joe Biden’s handling of confidential documents, concluded without charges despite a finding of intentional detention and disclosure of sensitive information.

Trump has publicly stated that he should not face charges in the classified documents case, especially considering the outcome of the Biden case.

The case also follows reports that the FBI lost two rooms at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate while searching for classified documents.

Presidential candidate Nikki Haley took aim at Trump and said the former president should consider hiring Biden’s legal team, following the special counsel’s decision not to charge Biden over his handling of classified documents.

Photo by a katz on Shutterstock

Read next: Donald Trump’s infamous Hush Money case involving Stormy Daniels will come to the fore next month

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