Federal Judge Refuses to Dismiss Charges Against Trump in Classified Documents Case

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Israeli confession from Donald Trump

A federal judge declined to dismiss charges against former President Donald Trump in the case involving classified documents. Trump contended that he possessed the authority to retain classified or sensitive documents upon leaving the White House.

US District Judge Aileen Cannon‘s recent ruling maintains the possibility for Trump to assert his authority under the Presidential Records Act (PRA) as a defense during trial or in pre-trial proceedings.

While not delving into Trump’s PRA claims, Cannon determined that his legal team failed to meet the standard required for dismissal. She noted the absence of any mention of the PRA in the indictment against Trump and the prosecution’s lack of reliance on the statute in bringing charges.

Rejecting special counsel Jack Smith’s plea for a definitive ruling on the admissibility of Trump’s theory at trial, Cannon criticized the request as unprecedented and unjust.

This decision followed Cannon’s directive for both parties to submit potential jury instructions addressing Trump’s contentions of broad record-retention authority, an exercise she defended as an attempt to clarify the complex issues in the upcoming trial.

The Presidential Records Act, enacted post-Watergate, regulates the handling of records post-administration, including their turnover to the National Archives. Trump has argued that he had the ultimate discretion to determine which documents constituted his personal records.

During a previous hearing, Cannon expressed skepticism towards Trump’s assertion of unlimited authority under the PRA, suggesting that while his legal team presented compelling arguments, they appeared premature for this stage of the case.

Prosecutors have consistently argued that the PRA is irrelevant to the charges.

Numerous outstanding motions, including several seeking dismissal of the case, remain for Cannon to address.


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