Trump must review classified documents case evidence in secure location, judge says

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Former U.S. President Donald Trump and his lawyers may only review classified evidence in a secure place as he prepares for a criminal trial over his handling of secret documents after he left office in 2021, a judge ruled on Wednesday.

Trump, the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, has been charged along with two aides with illegally storing troves of classified documents at his personal residence and lying to federal investigators who sought to retrieve them.

He had opposed strict security protocols for the classified evidence as inconvenient, saying he and his lawyers should be able to review them in his office at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.

Wednesday’s ruling by U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon in Florida is a win for prosecutors, who said it would be inappropriate for Trump to be able to review classified documents at the very location where is accused of illegally and haphazardly storing them. The order requires Trump and his lawyers to review and discuss all classified evidence in a so-called sensitive compartmented information facility, or SCIF.

Trump was charged in an indictment in June with criminal counts, including violations of the Espionage Act, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and making false statements to investigators.

Trump denies the charges.

(Reporting by Rami Ayyub and Paul grant; writing by Susan Heavey; editing by Grant McCool)