Prosecutors in Donald Trump’s classified documents trial are under pressure to ensure the jury does not see information considered sensitive. They will need to ensure that only “Goldilocks” files are revealed – meaning documents that are “just right” for public viewing. It could present problems for the prosecution who may struggle to get across the seriousness of holding on to specific files while not being able to reveal their content.
Cases involving sensitive information are governed by the Classified Information Processing Act, introduced in 1980. It requires judges to provide protective orders for papers that cannot be seen publicly. It also stipulates the rules surrounding the disclosure of evidence between prosecution and defense attorneys.
Goldilocks is a term coined by former Department of Justice prosecutor David Aaron. He explained that these files can be shown to the jury without causing government intelligence concerns. “There’s an effort for prosecutors to identify documents that would be useful as evidence and also wouldn’t require a ton of technical explanation to the jury. They need them to be sensitive, but not too sensitive,” Aaron said.
Former President Donald Trump appeared in court in Miami on June 13 to plead not guilty on 37 criminal counts related to his handling of classified documents found during an FBI raid on his Florida estate last August. In a recent interview, Trump firmly denied any wrongdoing and told Fox News’ Bret Baier that he did not immediately return the documents to the National Archive because he needed to sort through them and hadn’t had time to do so.
US district judge Aileen Cannon, whom President Trump appointed, will oversee the trial and has set a starting date of August 14. Charges include willful retention of classified government records and obstruction of justice. Special Counsel Jack Smith, who led the investigation, hopes for a speedy trial. However, given the complexities surrounding the nature of the documents, a long and drawn-out process is expected.