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Judge lets terror suspect Padilla view classified documents for defense

[JURIST] Jose Padilla [JURIST news archive] and his attorneys may view classified information from the US Department of Defense (DOD) [official website] in preparation for his terrorism trial, US District Judge Marcia G. Cooke [official profile] has ruled. Although defense lawyers are routinely granted access to confidential information after obtaining security clearance, allowing Padilla to examine the 32 documents and 57 videotapes containing statements he made under interrogation while detained by the US military is an unorthodox move. His lawyers claim that viewing documents with Padilla will help him remember his detention and contribute to his defense. Cooke, who ordered the prosecution to turn over additional evidence [JURIST report] to Padilla's defense last month, also outlined the strict procedures under which Padilla may view the materials, including observation by a US marshal from the doorway.

Padilla, initially suspected of planning to set off a "dirty bomb" in the United States, 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. He was transferred to civilian custody [JURIST report] in January of this year, when he pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to the terror charges. A trial is scheduled to begin in September. AP has more.

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