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Judge rejects Trump’s bid to dismiss classified documents case, but agrees to strike allegation in charges

Washington — Federal judge overseeing special counsel Jack Smith classified documents affair against Donald Trump has once again rejected requests from the former president’s legal team to drop the charges against him, according to an order filed Monday evening.

Judge Aileen Cannon denied many allegations by defense attorneys for Trump and his co-defendants, arguing that the 2023 indictment was technically flawed, but she criticized prosecutors’ description of an incident as unnecessary to the charges and agreed to remove a single paragraph from the charging document because she said it “inappropriately contained allegations of uncharged offenses.”

Smith indicted Trump on 40 counts, including illegally retaining national defense information, after investigators recovered hundreds of classified documents dating back to his time at the White House at his Florida estate. The former president and his co-defendants — help Walta Nauta and former Mar-a-Lago employee Carlos de Oliveira – are also accused of engaging in an alleged scheme to obstruct the federal investigation.

All three have pleaded not guilty and denied wrongdoing.

Smith’s office declined to comment on the recent decision. Representatives for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Special Advisor Jack Smith.

Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images


Trump, Nauta and de Oliveira made numerous arguments in court in an attempt to dismiss the charges before going to trial, including that multiple alleged crimes were listed under one charge and that prosecutors had failed to prove that Nauta and de Oliveria knew that classified documents were contained. in the boxes that they are accused of moving. The defense also claimed that the form in which the charges were written was technically insufficient.

Cannon rejected those claims because she said the language used in the indictment was legally allowed. In certain circumstances, she wrote, the issues could be raised by the defense at trial.

While a near-total victory for Smith, the judge’s ruling also criticized the style of the special prosecutor’s indictment, calling it “non-essential allegations more akin to a narrative on the theory of government prosecution.” Cannon wrote that the “talking indictment” — a term used to describe a descriptive charging document — contained allegations and language against Trump that were “legally unnecessary” in relation to the underlying charges.

Despite the criticism, she ruled that almost the entire 60-page indictment would stand, except for a single paragraph in which prosecutors described a moment in 2021 when Trump allegedly showed an individual who did not hold a security clearance a classified card from a foreign country. .

Former President Donald Trump speaks during a Turning Point PAC town hall at Dream City Church June 6, 2024, in Phoenix, Arizona.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images


The judge wrote that the paragraph was unnecessary and would be struck from the indictment, since Trump is not accused of showing anyone else classified documents. She did, however, leave open the possibility that the alleged conduct could be included in any trial after appropriate legal proceedings.

Her decision was consistent with comments she made in previous court hearings in which she specifically called the charging documents against Trump a “talking indictment” and highlighted their length.

Cannon’s order Monday also mirrored others issued in recent months in which she rejected Trump’s legal arguments but criticized the special prosecutor and his prosecutors.

In April, she agreed with Smith that the names of potential witnesses should remain redacted in publicly filed documents, but chastised prosecutors for not making that particular argument sooner. Last month, Cannon criticized Smith’s team for failing to confer with the defense and described them as “completely lacking in substance and professional courtesy” when she rejected their request to limit Trump’s speech on the application of the law in this case. Cannon, however, authorized the special counsel to refile her request and she is still reviewing it.

A trial date in that case has not yet been set, as the judge said she is working on other pretrial matters. Cannon had previously rejected other arguments made by Trump that the charges should be dropped and held public hearings on various motions throughout the summer months.

Smith also indicted Trump in Washington, D.C., on four federal counts alleging he worked to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. The former president has pleaded not guilty to those charges and the case is currently on hold while the Supreme Court considers his claims of presidential immunity from prosecution.

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News Source : www.cbsnews.com

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