Pryor Cashman Partner Sidhardha “Sid” Kamaraju, co-chair of the Regulatory Enforcement + Securities Litigation Practice, spoke with Politico about the rules around classified information and documents in trials.
In “How to hold a public trial when the key evidence is classified,” Sid explains that only certain people can have access to the info:
“Usually when you have cases involving classified information, there’s sort of a small bucket of defense lawyers who handle that because they either already have clearance or they had it and can get it quickly renewed,” said Sid Kamaraju, a former federal prosecutor in New York who prosecuted a former Central Intelligence Agency software engineer for causing what was at the time the largest theft of classified information in the agency’s history.
Federal judges don’t need clearances, and they undergo deep FBI background checks before their Senate confirmation. Their law clerks, however, are required to obtain security clearances when handling a case involving classified material.
He also noted that care has to be taken when presenting the classified documents to a jury:
The highest hurdle in the process is getting classified material into a form in which jurors can see it, since they don’t get security clearances and since the default at trial is for evidence presented to jurors to be made public.
“The jury has to receive all of the evidence, so there are ways at trial where the jury gets to see the information, but it’s not necessarily made public,” Kamaraju said.
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