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Is a Former President Entitled to a Fair Trial?

Updated: Oct 24, 2022

The US Government claims that full disclosure would cause serious harm to national security. The Former President is asking the court to appoint a special master to oversee the confidential documents seized during the FBI raid of his Mar a Lago home.

Many in this country believe that this is an emotionally charged case based more on political issues than upon what is the law. We are a country that prides itself on equal justice for all. Just the potential that the new government and president might arrest and indict the previous administration is scary. For the new administration to use the FBI to raid the homes of the opposition party is very serious and we must be very careful in how we proceed.

Painting by an exile from a dictatorship showing lady justice being blind and equal justice
Painting by a political exile from a dictatorship. We see lady justice being blind and equal justice

The question remains.

Can the former President of the United States get a fair trial?

How does our justice system handle other situations where concerns of the rights of the accused are in direct conflict with national security concerns?

Trump's team are arguing for a special master to review the documents, to see what is admissible under the warrant. The Justice department is arguing against such a special master. They claim that these are confidential documents and would require someone with ts/sci clearance and that would be very difficult to find. That such a court appointed independent special master would pose as a national security risk and put the country in danger.

Did all the FBI and DOJ officials involved in this case have ts/sci clearance? Why would a court appointed independent special master be a security risk but not the FBI and DOJ members involved in such a case? Is there no one in this country that both sides can respect as an independent political person that can be trusted to be the special master?

This is not the first case to present itself before the court where our government prosecutes the case but refuses to share information with the defense team because of a national security claim.

How are these other cases handled? If the prosecution claims that a special master will put the country at risk,

who will determine which evidence is admissible or not?

Will the judge be allowed to see this information?

Will the defense?

Will this be trial where it will be up to the Department of Justice to determine what evidence will be allowed into the court. At what point is it a kangaroo court with no fair trail and no discovery allowed for the defense.

Understanding that National Security is vital for our nation, who will determine the proper balance between allowing the rights of a defendant to a fair trial and to what is in the best interest of the nation?

For a previous court case where, national security became an issue, please read

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