09-14-2023, 3:01 PM

Before the trial, the judge in the papers case establishes guidelines for Trump's access to sensitive information

On Wednesday, the federal judge overseeing the case involving the handling of sensitive government documents by former President Donald Trump outlined a number of limitations on the former president's access to and discussion of classified information with his attorneys as they get ready for their upcoming trial.

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon issued the 16-page protective order after granting a request by special counsel Jack Smith that outlined the steps Trump and his attorneys must take when handling any secret information that has been revealed to them in connection with the investigation.

After Tuesday's closed-door meeting in Florida over the government's request, attorneys for the Justice Department and the former president appeared before Cannon.

The security officer is tasked with putting in place the security measures required to prevent the unauthorized disclosure of classified information provided to Trump in connection with his case, and he or she can advise the former president and his attorneys on how to handle and use delicate materials.

She added that any violation of the terms of the order "shall be brought promptly to the Court and may result in a charge of contempt of Court and possible referral for criminal prosecution," and that the unauthorized disclosure of classified information "could cause serious damage, and in some cases exceptionally grave damage, to the national security of the United States, or may be used to the advantage of a foreign nation against the interests of the United Nations."

The former president has entered a not-guilty plea to all allegations. He has maintained that the sensitive records were declassified before he left office and that he considered them to be personal papers that were exempt from transfer to the National Archives and Records Administration at the conclusion of his administration.

The trial is set to start in May 2024, according to Cannon.

According to the order, Trump's attorneys have obtained security clearances that are at least interim in nature, granting them access to "confidential," "secret," or "top secret" protected information.

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