Judge rules on critical motions in Trump’s classified documents case

Former President Donald Trump’s legal team challenged some of the 41 counts in the classified documents case against him but the judge did not rule in his favor.

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon had already rejected several other motions to dismiss the case before ruling on Monday to do the same when Trump’s lawyers sought to dismiss more than a half dozen of the charges. Trump faces charges stemming from Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation of the mishandling of classified documents and has pleaded not guilty to all counts.

Though the legal team for the presumptive 2024 Republican nominee sought to throw out counts related to obstruction and false statements, Cannon denied the motion to dismiss.

Cannon, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, said Monday that “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.”

However, the judge did agree to strike down a paragraph from the indictment that alleged Trump showed a classified map of a foreign country in 2021 when he was no longer president. Defense lawyers argued it was prejudicial information since it was not connected to crimes listed in the indictment and Cannon agreed it was “not appropriate” to include.

“The ruling has minimal practical effect on the case since Cannon left the rest of the indictment intact, denying in her 14-page order a request to dismiss any of the actual charges,” ABC News reported. “Yet even as she rejected the defense bid to toss multiple counts, she chided Special Counsel Jack Smith’s team for having included in the indictment language that she said was ‘legally unnecessary to serve the function of an indictment’ and for creating ‘arguable confusion’ in some of the wording.”

Though the trial was set to begin May 20, the judge indefinitely postponed the start last month and scheduled additional arguments in the coming weeks to address another motion to dismiss “based on unlawful appointment and funding of special counsel.”

(Video Credit: Fox 32)

“Former Attorney General Ed Meese, who served under former President Reagan, filed an amicus brief in the case, in which he argues that Attorney General Merrick Garland’s appointment of Smith as special counsel – a private citizen at the time – is in violation of the Appointments Clause of the Constitution,” Fox News reported.

“Not clothed in the authority of the federal government, Smith is a modern example of the naked emperor,” the brief states. “Improperly appointed, he has no more authority to represent the United States in this Court than Bryce Harper, Taylor Swift, or Jeff Bezos.”

Meese’s brief asserts that the “illegality” of appointing Smith is “sufficient to sink Smith’s petition, and the Court should deny review.”

Frieda Powers

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