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Former U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks during an event following his arraignment on classified document charges, at Trump National Golf Club, in Bedminster, New Jersey, U.S., June 13, 2023. 

Amr Alfiky | Reuters

A federal judge on Wednesday issued an order setting limits on where and how former President Donald Trump can discuss classified information with his defense lawyers for the criminal case where he is charged with retaining classified documents after leaving the White House.

The order by Judge Aileen Cannon in U.S. District Court for southern Florida instructing Trump ansd his lawyers to discuss that information in a secured location endorsed limitations sought by prosecutors from the office of special counsel Jack Smith over the objections of Trump.

But Cannon’s order was vague on the question of whether several concessions sought by Trump about how he could discuss classified information would eventually be granted in one form or the other.

Cannon did not explicitly address a request by Trump to create a so-called Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, or SCIF, at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, so that he could discuss classified information there with his lawyers.

Smith had opposed that request, noting, among other things, that Mar-a-Lago is the scene of the alleged crime. Smith also had opposed Trump’s request to be allowed to discuss classified information in his office at Mar-a-Lago or his office at his club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

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Cannon’s order implied that only a SCIF operated by the U.S. government would be used by the defense to discuss classified information, but did not explicitly rule out one being created at Mar-a-Lago or Bedminster in the future.

And the judge said a classified information security officer already appointed in the case could authorize a location other than a SCIF for the defense to discuss classified information.

“The defense shall discuss classified information only within the SCIF or in an area authorized by the CISO,” Cannon wrote.

A spokesman for Smith, and Trump’s lawyer Todd Blanche did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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