Judge Denies Jack Smith’s Request To Keep Docs Unsealed

 December 5, 2023

In a surprising twist, special counsel Jack Smith's motions to protect classified information in the Trump Mar-a-Lago case were denied due to a lack of sufficient justification.

Judge Aileen Cannon has ordered the unsealing of several documents related to the case, increasing transparency.

These motions, filed by Smith on November 22, contained explicit details about plans to remove classified information from the case's discovery process. Smith had initially proposed to file these motions ex parte - for the judge's eyes only - and to extend beyond page limits as a means to safeguard the classified data.

Judge Cannon Overrules Special Counsel's Request

Smith expressed apprehension that revealing even the number of categories of information slated for deletion could inadvertently disclose too much. He argued that the defense counsel could conclude the nature of the government's planned Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA) Section 4 motion.

However, Judge Cannon deemed that Smith had not provided sufficient grounds for the ex parte filing. Consequently, she ordered the documents unsealed.

In reaction to Judge Cannon's decision, Smith acquiesced, stating that he no longer opposed the unsealing of the documents, with the exception of a few limited redactions. These redactions, Smith proposed, would serve the purpose of protecting classified information.

Unsealing Documents Amid Ongoing Criminal Case

This decision comes in the midst of an ongoing criminal case. The case pertains to classified documents that were retrieved from President Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate.

President Trump, his valet, and a property manager from Mar-a-Lago are charged with mishandling classified information. The unsealed documents could shine a new light on these circumstances.

Smith, in a statement, explained his initial concerns about the unsealing of documents:

"The defendants did not oppose the Government’s request, but reserved the right to challenge them later. The Government sought to file its motion ex parte because it was ancillary to an ex parte proceeding, and it would have revealed to defense counsel information, albeit unclassified, about the contours of the Government’s planned CIPA Section 4 motion. This is the same information that the Government proposed redacting."

Transparency in Legal Proceedings Prevails

Transparency is fundamental to the justice system, and the Mar-a-Lago case exemplifies this principle. Judge Cannon's decision to unseal documents offers the public deeper insight into the proceedings.

This decision is significant in promoting transparency in legal cases, particularly those involving classified information. It may establish a benchmark for handling similar cases in the future.

Although the effects of these newly accessible documents on the ongoing case are yet to be determined, the commitment to transparency and justice remains steadfast.


  • Jack Smith's motions to protect classified information in the Trump Mar-a-Lago case were rejected by Judge Aileen Cannon.
  • The documents, filed by Smith, contained plans to remove classified information from discovery.
  • Judge Cannon ordered the documents unsealed, calling for greater transparency in the case.
  • The decision to unseal the documents comes amid an ongoing criminal case involving President Trump, his valet, and a Mar-a-Lago property manager.
  • Smith conceded to the unsealing of the documents, barring a few limited redactions.

About Robert Cunningham

With years of experience at the forefront of political commentary, Robert Cunningham brings a blend of sharp wit and deep insight to his analysis of American principles at the Capitalism Institute.

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