Judge Cannon rejected Trump's bid to dismiss criminal charges in the classified documents case



CNN

A federal judge will not dismiss a classified documents charge against former President Donald Trump, who argued he was authorized to take classified or sensitive documents with him after he left the White House.

U.S. District Judge Eileen Cannon's brief order on Thursday said Trump could still use the argument that the president is authorized to keep the documents to defend himself at trial or bring it up in another pretrial hearing. activities.

Cannon did not elaborate on his views on Trump's claims about the PRA, but said Trump's lawyers did not meet the legal standard to dismiss the allegations. He wrote that prosecutors made “no reference to the Presidential Records Act” in the indictment against Trump and “did not rely” on the law to bring charges.

The judge pushed back on special counsel Jack Smith's request to make a final ruling on whether the doctrine can be used at trial, so prosecutors can appeal to the 11th Circuit. He said the “demand” was “unprecedented and unreasonable”.

Smith made the request when Cannon ordered both sides to submit hypothetical jury instructions that would take into account Trump's claims about record-keeping authority.

Cannon defended that exercise in Thursday's order, saying it “should not be interpreted as anything other than what it is: a genuine effort to better understand the parties' competing positions and the questions to be submitted to the arbitrator in this complex case of first appearance, in the context of the upcoming trial.”

The post-Watergate PRA governs how records are handled after the administration ends, including the transfer of presidential records to the National Archives. Under the law, Trump has said he has the final authority to decide which documents he is allowed to keep in his personal records.

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At a hearing last month, Cannon was skeptical of Trump's claim of unlimited authority under the PRA to decide which documents should be returned to the archives. He said that while Trump's lawyers made some “compelling” arguments about the scope of the law that would be useful before a jury, their arguments seemed premature at this point in the case.

Prosecutors said the PRA was not related to the charges.

Canon still has a dozen pending motions to decide, including several motions to dismiss the case.

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