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LANGUAGE

Judge Cannon rejects Trump effort to dismiss counts against him in classified documents case

Judge Alieen Cannon, who is presiding over Donald Trump’s classified documents case in Florida, denied a request from the former president to dismiss some of the charges in the indictment.

Trump and his co-defendants sought to have several of the 41 indictments thrown out, but Cannon refused. However, she did rule that one paragraph from the indictments must be stricken, noting its “prejudicial” nature. The paragraph details an occurrence in which Trump is alleged to have shown a highly sensitive military map to one of his close aides after leaving the presidency.

“The identified deficiencies, even if generating some arguable confusion, are either permitted by law, raise evidentiary challenges not appropriate for disposition at this juncture, and/or do not require dismissal even if technically deficient, so long as the jury is instructed appropriately and presented with adequate verdict forms as to each Defendants’ alleged conduct,” Cannon wrote in her ruling.

She said paragraph 36 is inappropriate for the prosecution to include because it is not directly connected to any of the crimes Trump is accused of, as Trump is not being charged with disclosing classified material to anyone after leaving office. The paragraph details Trump’s alleged showing of a classified document to someone without a security clearance in 2021.

Trump’s lawyers said the inclusion of the paragraph was irrelevant, as Trump was only charged with keeping documents after leaving office. Cannon dismissed Trump’s lawyers’ request to dismiss the charges altogether, although she agreed with Trump’s legal team that much of the language in the indictment was “legally unnecessary.” 

Jay Bratt, of the prosecution, argued that the paragraph had been included not as charged behavior but in order to try and highlight the former president’s tendency of mishandling classified material. He said the paragraph was permissible under Rule 404(b) of the federal criminal procedure, which allows prosecutors to inform the jury of the defendant’s “bad acts.” 

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Prosecutors may still be able to introduce the story of Trump and the classified document as evidence in the trial, just not in the charging document. So far, Cannon has moved slowly with most proceedings in the case.

Walt Nauta, Trump’s personal aide, and Mar-a-Lago property manager Carlos De Oliveira are Trump’s co-defendants in the trial.

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