Latest news: Witnesses to remain anonymous in classified Trump documents case, judge rules

The federal judge overseeing the case against Donald Trump over his alleged mishandling of classified documents agreed Tuesday to prevent potential government witnesses from being identified in court documents.

The ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon had long been sought by special prosecutor Jack Smith, with prosecutors arguing that failing to conceal witnesses’ identities would put them at risk.

In its 24 page order On Tuesday, the judge said that while Smith’s request “remains radical in nature,” she was “satisfied that the special counsel has made an adequate showing on this issue,” at least for now. She ordered Smith to produce a sealed index of potential witnesses, with each name accompanied by his corresponding pseudonym.

However, the decision marks only a partial victory for Smith’s office, as the judge refused to grant a “majority” request to keep substantive witness statements secret as long as they do not identify the witness or others. on the list.

Cannon also didn’t miss the opportunity to criticize Smith in the order, criticizing him and his prosecutors for not presenting their evidence quickly enough.

“Although the record makes clear that the Special Prosecutor could and should have raised his current arguments earlier, the Court chooses, after a full review of those newly raised arguments, to reconsider his prior Order,” he noted pointedly.

The months-long dispute over redaction began when Trump’s lawyers pushed to be able to name government witnesses in court papers they filed regarding discovery. In a ruling on the matter last summer, Cannon sided with prosecutors, saying they had not adequately explained his reasons for wanting the redaction.

Prosecutors urged Cannon to reconsider, saying in a February presentation that he had made a “clear mistake” and that there was “a well-documented pattern in which judges, agents, prosecutors and witnesses involved in cases involving Trump have been subjected to threats, harassment and intimidation.”

The former president, who faces 37 charges in the case, has pleaded not guilty to illegally retaining the classified documents. He and his two co-defendants, Walt Nauta and Carlos De Oliveira, also pleaded not guilty to obstructing the government’s attempts to recover the records.

The trial has no set start date as the case, taking place in Fort Pierce, Florida, has become mired in a tangle of motions and unresolved legal issues. It is one of four criminal charges pending against Trump.

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