April 24, 2007
AIPAC trial likely to be postponed
Due to the inability of the prosecution so far to come up with a means of presenting its case that passes both constitutional and judicial muster, the case against two former AIPAC officials is likely to be postponed from its initial June 4 trial date.
The need to resolve disagreements between the parties over the handling of classified information involved in the case will "knock the trial date into a cocked hat," said Judge T.S. Ellis, III at an April 19 hearing. [....]
The Judge gave prosecutors until May 2 to decide whether they will propose a new set of "substitutions" for classified evidence, which would then need to be reviewed by the defense and the court under the provisions of the Classified Information Procedures Act.
Alternatively, prosecutors may decide to stand fast with their previous proposal to bar public access to the classified evidence, a position that he judge has already rejected,thereby setting the stage for an appeal.
Judge Ellis issued a detailed memorandum opinion on April 19 to explain why he concluded that the prosecution proposal to exclude public access to classified evidence is not authorized by statute or precedent.
In fashioning a means to deal what the government claims to be classified evidence, the Judge in his April 19 written opinion emphasized
that any proposal to exclude public access to classified evidence would have to be thoroughly supported by "a highly detailed xplanation of the ensuing harms to national security...[[since] much of the classified information at issue [here] is not self-evidently damaging to national security." [emphasis supplied].