05/18/2024

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Background: Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump attends a news conference with Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., Friday, April 12, 2024, at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)/ Aileen M. Cannon speaks remotely during a Senate Judiciary Committee oversight nomination hearing to be U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on July 29, 2020, in Washington. (U.S. Senate via AP)

Cannon reminds Trump to redact witness names as former president faces gag hearing in different venue

Background: Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump attends a news conference with Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., Friday, April 12, 2024, at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee). Aileen M. Cannon speaks remotely during a Senate Judiciary Committee oversight nomination hearing to be U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on July 29, 2020, in Washington. (U.S. Senate via AP)

Amid Donald Trump being held in contempt of court in New York at his criminal hush money and election interference trial, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon in Florida has issued a reminder — and deadline — to the former president: when he files an anticipated motion to dismiss the classified documents on “selective and vindictive prosecution” grounds case by Thursday, he must redact the names of government witnesses.

Cannon entered the paperless order onto the docket in Florida late Tuesday. It reminds Trump that while redacting the names of potential witnesses, he and his attorneys are also to ensure that any “ancillary names” or other personal identifying information is anonymized. She said he must file unredacted versions of the motion and reply under seal by Thursday, May 2.

The full order states:

To facilitate the public docketing of Defendant Trump’s “Motion to Dismiss Indictment Based on Selective and Vindictive Prosecution” and associated filings, and consistent with the Court’s prior Orders 438, 440, 474, 492, Defendant Trump is directed as follows. On or before May 2, 2024, Defendant Trump shall docket the Motion and associated filings publicly, redacting only the names of potential government witnesses (replacing them with anonymized labels provided in the most current Sealed Amended Index 484), ancillary names, and PII. In docketing the Reply, Defendant Trump shall indicate in the docket text the Opposition to which it responds 375. Thereafter, and for record completeness, Defendant Trump shall file under seal unredacted versions of the Motion and Reply. Signed by Judge Aileen M. Cannon on 4/30/2024. (Entered: 04/30/2024)

Related Coverage:

    Trump has long claimed his prosecution in Florida is politically motivated and has called for the indictment’s dismissal on these grounds before. In February, for example, he argued that “ongoing discovery abuses” by federal prosecutors against himself and his co-defendants, longtime valet Waltine Nauta and property manager Carlos De Oliveira, were “prima facie” evidence of “selective and vindictive prosecution” because now-President Joe Biden did not face charges after special counsel Robert Hur declined to bring them.

    As Law&Crime recently reported, special counsel Jack Smith has been frustrated by the repetitive and “baseless accusations of prosecutorial misconduct” in reply briefs that were still hidden from the public docket.

    Earlier this month, Cannon begrudgingly reversed her decision on the naming of government witnesses and agreed redactions needed to be place when it came to Nauta’s motion to compel discovery and other briefs.

    The reminder in the Florida judge’s order arrived the same day that Trump was held in contempt in his separate criminal case in New York.

    Acting New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan held the former president in contempt after finding he violated a recently updated gag order when posting nine missives on his social media platform Truth Social — as well as campaign website posts — that made or directed others to make statements about “known or reasonably foreseeable witnesses” in the case. That would include witnesses like Trump’s former “fixer” Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels, the adult film actress Trump allegedly paid to keep quiet about an affair ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

    The updated gag order also barred Trump from making comments about “any prospective juror any or juror in this criminal proceeding.” Merchan is expected to hold a hearing on gag order-related issues on Thursday.

    It is worth noting that although Trump’s case in Washington, D.C., for allegedly criminally conspiring to subvert the results of the 2020 election is on hold for the moment as questions of immunity are resolved, he is subject to a gag order there too which set limits on what he can say about known or reasonably foreseeable witnesses, court staff, and attorneys in the case — save for Smith.

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    The post Cannon reminds Trump to redact witness names as former president faces gag hearing in different venue first appeared on Law & Crime.