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Ellis sets Oct. 28 for trial

The federal judge in the classified information case against two former AIPAC staffers set a trial date of Oct. 28.

The new date set Wednesday by Judge T.S. Ellis III during a closed hearing in the U.S. district court in Alexandria, Va. suggested that he is confident that the prosecution’s pretrial appeals of his decisions on what classified information may be used as evidence will play out by then.

The arduous process of negotiating what classified information may be presented in court is the principle reason for the extensive delay in bringing to trial Steve Rosen, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s former foreign policy director and Keith Weissman, its former Iran analyst; this is at least the sixth trial date set by Ellis since Rosen and Weissman were indicted in August 2005.

Separately, Ellis ruled in favor of the prosecution in allowing as evidence a Washington Post article from June 15 2003; that article, by Michael Dobbs, on Iran policy wars within the Bush administration, quoted senior administration officials as refusing to discuss a directive by President Bush on Iran because it is classified.

 

The same directive was allegedly the topic of discussion between Rosen, Weissman and Larry Franklin, then a Pentagon Iran analyst. The prosecution intends to use the article to show that Rosen and Weissman likely knew the document, a National Security Presidential Directive, was classified. Franklin has pleaded guilty in the case.

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