Former US President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference at Mar-a-Lago on February 8, 2024 in Palm Beach, Florida.
Joe Raedle | Getty Images
Former President Donald Trump arrived in Florida federal court Monday morning for a closed hearing in the criminal case in which he is accused of taking hundreds of confidential government documents with him as he left the White House.
The hearing before Judge Aileen Cannon will address protective orders related to classified information contained in those records.
About 30 Trump supporters gathered outside the Fort Pierce courthouse in anticipation of his arrival. She and other members of the public will not be allowed to attend Tuesday’s hearing.
Cannon, who was appointed to the federal bench by Trump, is scheduled to hear defense arguments alone from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. ET, without the presence of prosecutors from Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith’s office.
Trump can attend the hearing, but his co-defendants in the case, Walt Nauta and Carlos de Oliveira, cannot attend because they lack security clearance.
Nauta, who is Trump’s valet, and de Oliveira, who worked as a maintenance worker at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club, are accused of helping Trump obstruct justice by trying to hide the secret documents from government officials. The secret recordings were kept at the club in Palm Beach, Florida, where Trump is staying.
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“Defense counsel must be prepared to discuss in detail their defense theories about the case and how classified information might be relevant or helpful to the defense,” Cannon wrote last week in an order setting the hearing schedule.
Trump’s lawyers are also expected to discuss their requests for access to court records under the Classified Information Procedures Act.
Later in the day, from 3 to 5 p.m., the judge is scheduled to hear Smith’s prosecutors’ CIPA motions and other issues. Defense attorneys are not allowed to attend this meeting.
Cannon kept her file open Tuesday in case further proceedings on the CIPA matters are necessary.
Trump and the other defendants have pleaded not guilty in the case, which is one of four criminal trials against the former president.
Trump is the leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.
Last week, another DOJ special agent said he would not prosecute President Joe Biden because he kept a much smaller number of secret records and other materials at his home in Wilmington, Delaware, after he left the vice presidential office in early 2017 .
This is breaking news. Check back for updates.