The unprecedented trial of two former officials of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, who are charged under the Espionage Act with unlawful receipt and disclosure of national defense information, is likely to be postponed from its scheduled start date on June 4.
The need to resolve disagreements between the parties over the handling of classified information involved in the case will “knock the trial date into a cocked hat,” said Judge T.S. Ellis, III at an April 19 hearing.
The Judge gave prosecutors until May 2 to decide whether they will propose a new set of “substitutions” for classified evidence, which would then need to be reviewed by the defense and the court under the provisions of the Classified Information Procedures Act.
Alternatively, prosecutors may decide to stand fast with their previous proposal to bar public access to the classified evidence, a position that the judge has already rejected, thereby setting the stage for an appeal.
Judge Ellis issued a detailed memorandum opinion (pdf) on April 19 to explain why he concluded that the prosecution proposal to exclude public access to classified evidence is not authorized by statute or precedent.
The memorandum opinion advised the government that any proposal to exclude public access to classified evidence would have to be thoroughly supported by “a highly detailed explanation of the ensuing harms to national security… [since] much of the classified information at issue [here] is not self-evidently damaging to national security.”
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The FAS Nuclear Notebook is one of the most widely sourced reference materials worldwide for reliable information about the status of nuclear weapons and has been published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists since 1987. The Nuclear Notebook is researched and written by the staff of the Federation of American Scientists’ Nuclear Information Project: Director Hans […]
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