Florida Judge Refuses to Dismiss Charges Against Trump for Handling of Confidential Documents

EFE

Judge Aileen Cannon refused this Thursday to dismiss 32 charges in the criminal case in Florida for the mishandling of confidential documents against former President and Republican candidate Donald Trump after leaving the White House in 2021, according to court documents.

"After a careful review of the motion, related submissions, and arguments raised during the hearing, the defendant's (Trump) motion is denied," Judge Cannon ruled in a court in Fort Pierce, on the east coast of Florida, where the case is being heard.

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The judge, nominated by Trump during his term, explained that, "although the motion raises several arguments that deserve serious consideration, the court ultimately determines, after extensive oral argument," to rule against the former president's motion as "premature," according to the two-page document accessed by EFE.

Criminal charges 1 to 32 are related to "the voluntary withholding of national defense information" and "conspiracy to obstruct justice." In the 20-page motion filed last February 22, Trump asked the judge to dismiss these charges for "unconstitutional vagueness."

Cannon pointed out that the resolution of the general issue depends too much on "disputed instruction issues about still fluctuating definitions" and that, for that reason, "instead of deciding now prematurely (...), the court chooses to deny the motion" based on "unconstitutional vagueness" and decides not to dismiss charges 1 to 32.

More: Trump’s defense seeks to dismiss charges of mishandling classified documents in a Florida court

Trump attended a hearing this Thursday in the aforementioned court in which his defense sought to dismiss some or all of the criminal charges for the mishandling of confidential documents in two motions.

The other motion presented by his legal team is based on the protection of the former president under the Presidential Records Act and it is expected that the judge will rule on this in the coming days.

Trump's legal team argues that the so-called Presidential Records Act gives this authority to consider the documents as personal and retain them after his presidency, and therefore, protects him under the law.

But the team of special prosecutor Jack Smith, on the contrary, maintains that those files that Trump retained are presidential records, in no case personal, and that this statute does not apply to confidential and top-secret official documents like the ones he kept at Mar-a-Lago, his home in Palm Beach (Florida).

Smith emphasizes that presidential records cannot in any way be transformed into "personal" records when removed from the White House and must be subject to the requirements of the law.

To this Todd Blanche, from Trump's team of lawyers, replies that all presidents, since George Washington, have removed material from the White House "at their own discretion."

Among the more than 11,000 official documents found in the Mar-a-Lago registry by FBI agents, a hundred of them were classified as secret or "top secret."

Trump has also sought to delay the trial. The former president's lawyers had asked to hold it on August 12 or outright after the next November elections, while the prosecution requested that it be on July 8.

Trump is already the presumptive candidate of the Republican Party who will face President Joe Biden in the next November presidential elections.

The Republican has sought to delay this and the other three criminal trials he faces, alleging political motivations.

Trump has in Florida 40 accusations that a grand jury charged him for the mishandling of classified materials, for having allegedly retained and hidden secret documents in his residence.