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Judge rejects DOJ bid to restrict Padilla lawyers' handling of secret evidence

[JURIST] The Miami federal judge presiding over the trial of terror suspect Jose Padilla [JURIST news archive] on Friday rejected prosecutors' attempts to require Padilla’s defense attorneys to sign a "memorandum of understanding" regarding the security of secret evidence the prosecution intends to use in its case. The memorandum, promulgated by the US Justice Department, would have required all lawyers involved in the trial to never reveal anything classified, and destroy copies of all classified evidence provided. Prosecutors plan to use evidence gained from secret FBI investigations, materials provided to the US government by foreign governments, and the results of military interrogations of Padilla during his three and a half year military custody as an enemy combatant. Padilla was charged [JURIST report] last year with conspiracy to murder US nationals, conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, and providing material support to terrorists, and was transferred to civilian custody [JURIST report] in January of this year.

US District Judge Marcia Cooke thought the memorandum was unnecessary. Defense attorneys for Padilla and co-defendants Adham Amin Hassoun and Kifah Wael Jayyousi have already agreed to follow a court order [JURIST report] under the Classified Information Procedures Act [text] placing tight restrictions on disclosure of evidence containing classified material; violations of the Act can be a crime. In addition, the lawyers have to undergo background checks for a security clearance just to view the evidence in a secure room at the courthouse. The trial is scheduled to begin the week of Sept. 5. AP has more.

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