Trump classified documents indictment: Judge rejects attempt to dismiss some charges

WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal judge presiding over classified documents affair Former President Donald Trump and two of his associates deleted a paragraph from the indictment on Monday, but rejected a defense request to dismiss some of the charges.

The paragraph concerns allegations that Trump, in 2021 and when he was no longer president, showed a classified map of a foreign country to a representative of his political action committee while discussing a military operation which, according to him, was not going well.

Defense attorneys said the paragraph was prejudicial because it was not related to any crime charged in the indictment, which accuses Trump of illegally keeping classified materials at his Mar-a-Lago estate . U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon acknowledged Monday that the inclusion of those terms in the indictment was “not appropriate.”

The ruling has minimal practical effect on the case since Cannon left the rest of the indictment intact, denying in his 14-page order a request to dismiss the actual charges. Yet even as she rejected the defense’s proposal to dismiss several counts, she chastised Special Advisor Jack Smith’s team for including language in the indictment that it said was “legally unnecessary to fulfill the function of an indictment” and for creating “defensible confusion” in certain language.

A spokesperson for Smith declined to comment Monday evening.

The motion to dismiss the charges is one of the Multiple pre-trial requests and litigation which for months have accumulated before Cannon, scolding the progress of the case and prompting the judge last month to Postponed sine die a trial which had been set for May 20 in Fort Pierce, Florida.

She scheduled additional arguments for later this month, including on a challenge by Trump to the legality and funding of Smith’s appointment as special counsel by the Justice Department last year.

The delays in the case are all the more surprising because many legal experts have considered the classified documents charge to be extremely straightforward in its claims that Trump is illegal. classified documents hoarded of his presidency at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, and obstructed the FBI’s efforts to recover them.

The accusation is one of four criminal cases Trump faces as he seeks to win back the White House. He was convicted last month on all 34 counts Hush the money affair in New Yorkbut it appears unlikely that the other three cases will be tried before the November presidential election, in which Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee.

The defendants in this particular motion had sought to drop more than half a dozen counts in the indictment, which also accuses Trump of conspiring with valet Walt Nauta and Mar-a-Lago property manager Carlos De Oliveira to hide sensitive files from the government.

The defendants had contested charges related to obstruction and making false statements that they said were redundant and, in some cases, prejudicial.

But Cannon said in an order Monday that “the identified deficiencies, while generating some defensible confusion, are either permitted by law or raise evidentiary challenges that are not appropriate to address at this time.” stage, and/or do not require dismissal even if technically deficient, therefore provided that the jury is properly instructed and presented with adequate verdict forms as to the alleged conduct of each defendant.

The judge has already denied several other motions to dismiss the case, including one suggesting Trump was authorized under a law known as Presidential Records Act to keep the documents with him after he leaves the White House and consider them his personal files.

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