Trump attends closed-door hearing for classified docs case

2 weeks ago 63

MIAMI: Former US president Donald Trump attended a closed-door hearing in Florida on Monday (Feb 13) over federal charges he mishandled classified documents, as lawyers discuss who will have access to top-secret evidence.

Trump, 77, pleaded not guilty in June to charges of unlawfully retaining national defence information, conspiracy to obstruct justice and making false statements.

The judge in the case, Aileen Cannon, summoned lawyers from both sides for Monday's proceedings.

The ex-president and his entourage arrived around 9am (10pm, Singapore time) at the Fort Pierce courthouse, about 200km north of Miami, where a group of supporters holding posters greeted them.

He left the courthouse about five hours later.

Trump's lawyers want to gain access to the classified evidence, which is currently in prosecutors' hands, but the government's attorneys oppose the move on grounds that the information is too sensitive.

Cannon wrote in a court document calling the hearing that Trump's lawyers should be prepared to "discuss their defence theories of the case, in detail, and how any classified information might be relevant or helpful to the defence".

She is scheduled to hear defense arguments first, and then from federal prosecutors.

Trump is scheduled to go on trial beginning May 20. Also charged are two employees, property manager Carlos de Oliveira and Trump's personal assistant Waltine Nauta.

In recent weeks, Trump has appeared at hearings in several court cases against him.

The former leader has been leaning into his legal woes, which have not seemed to dent his popularity as the Republican Party's presidential frontrunner for the 2024 election.

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