How do prosecutors try a case when the charges are based on top secret and other classified documents? By definition, top secret means that releasing the information publicly could do grave damage to national security. That harsh truth can be a stumbling block in prosecutions. If documents are declassified so they can be shared with a jury, that may cause the jury to conclude the information in them wasn’t as serious as the government claims and be hesitant to convict. But in many cases, declassification isn’t an option. The prospect of damage is too great to contemplate, as with nuclear secrets, information obtained from allies, or assessments that, if revealed, could compromise our national defense. In cases like that, there’s a real risk of defendants engaging in graymail, the practice of threatening to expose critical information in open court if the government insists on taking them to trial.
ANYTHING you say, I want to hear! Even if it’s hard for a non-lawyer to understand. This is an extraordinarily complex case, and we “civilians” cannot be lulled into complacency. Keep on schooling us!
Definitely want more. When I started reading I knew my first question would be How can this judge screw this up?
By the time I finished reading I had stopped hyperventilating.
Very interested in “a little law school together “.
Joyce, as you continue to address this aspect of the case, you might want to take a look at the article I published in the Verdict in November, United States v. Donald J. Trump, the Trial of a National Security Case: https://verdict.justia.com/2022/11/15/the-united-states-v-donald-j-trump. In this article I discuss CIPA procedures and the problems prosecutors are likely to face trying to use it to prevent Trump from disclosing classified information that may genuinely be relevant to his defense. I was in charge of the classified information portion of the defense in Noriega, so I have some experience dealing with the nuances of the statute.
As always, love your articles.
Please keep this kind of information coming. I don’t mind some law school at all! It’s very helpful!
Educating us on the law is necessary to fully understand the consequences of Trump's actions.
This is admittedly above my head but I agree you are making it easier to understand. Thank you Joyce. This will be one for the history books indeed! Prayers for all....
Yes, I would. I depend utterly on a close read of your texts, file them away for reference, my very own personal Civil Discourse law book. It seems the LAW is our last, best hope to save democracy. I’m hanging on to every word. What a treasure. And what an experience. Thank you.
Yes more detail the better. We need context. As to recusal, in my experience as a lawyer and retired fed bankruptcy judge, i found that judges are reluctant to recuse where the basis is bias or the appearance of bias because it goes against their belief that they can be fair. It is also unusual for a fairly new judge to recuse. This is a big deal case and judges, like lawyers, want to be involved in big cases. Luckily the prosecutor is experienced.
I appreciate your respect and generosity for a wide audience of varying education levels and general understanding. You honour us by allowing us into your law class and giving us the opportunity to learn from you. Keep it coming. We are in this together and we need and appreciate you.
Incredible clear description of an entirely complex subject. I suppose that both sides have figured out their chess strategy here. Thanks Joyce!!!!
More, please! The complexities of this trial, the legal twists and turns that inevitably will imerge as the trial progresses are well beyond this poor citizen's ability to understand. I need you!
I like the detail! It is important to know this information so that we can explain it to friends and family with authority. Thank you for your lucid explanations of hard topics!
I understand the difficulty of showing top secret documents to jurors. Is there some reason why the documents in question can’t be summarized in general terms by some one authorized to see them? Such as ‘ this document reveals the location of CIA safe houses in country X.’
Joyce, informative and quite helpful! It will help when hear/read about the upcoming court procedures. I wish federal court procedures were televised!
Thank you for providing us with crucial information about how Judge Cannon may be dealt with if she denies prosecutors proper use of the Classified Information Production Act protections (CIPA) . She could have gotten out of the high beams, which will be on her, if she had recused herself. Judge Cannon is now Mystery #1 in this case.
'Judge Cannon was cavalier in her treatment of classified material in her first go-round in this matter. If she continues down that path, denying prosecutors the opportunity to avail themselves of the protections CIPA provides, they will appeal her to the 11th Circuit. If her CIPA rulings are as lackadaisical as the orders that caused the 11th Circuit to reverse her in the search warrant matter, that won’t go well. If she continues to put her thumbs on the scales of justice for the former president, she could easily find herself not just reversed, but subject to an order by the circuit court that, on remand, the chief judge in her district reassign the case to another judge. Because the government will have to appeal any egregious mistakes the judge makes in really on CIPA matters, this is a prime opportunity to request reassignment of the case without injecting any additional delay into the case.'
'Word is, Judge Cannon has declined to recuse from the case on her own. It’s unlikely she’ll have the final say on that matter.' (Joyce Vance)