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Judge rejects Trump's effort to dismiss classified documents charges

The district judge overseeing Donald Trump's classified documents case on Monday rejected the former president's attempt to dismiss some of the charges. File Photo via U.S. Department of Justice/UPI
The district judge overseeing Donald Trump's classified documents case on Monday rejected the former president's attempt to dismiss some of the charges. File Photo via U.S. Department of Justice/UPI | License Photo

June 10 (UPI) -- A federal judge on Monday rejected former President Donald Trump's attempt to have several charges dismissed in his classified documents case while permitting the removal of a single paragraph from the indictment for including allegations relating to an uncharged offense.

District Judge Aileen Cannon issued her order Monday.

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Trump is facing 41 counts related to the retention of classified documents and efforts to obstruct the federal investigation. Prosecutors accuse the former president of illegally retaining the documents after leaving the White House and then failing to hand them over, resulting in the FBI raiding his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

Walt Nauta, Trump's former valet, and former Mar-a-Lago maintenance worker Carlos De Oliveira are co-defendants in the case.

Trump's legal team had asked the court to dismiss counts 33 through 41, which are obstruction and false-statement offenses, over issues including duplicity, which Cannon denied saying even if there are deficiencies they are permitted by law.

She added that there isn't any issue with the counts as long as the jury was "instructed appropriately and presented with adequate verdict forms as to each defendant's alleged conduct."

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In a small win for the Trump, Cannon agreed to strike a single paragraph from the 60-page indictment. The former president's defense had argued it was prejudicial as it concerned allegations he was not charged for in the indictment.

The paragraph in question details how in August or September 2021, when Trump was no longer president, he met with a representative of his political action committee at his Bedminster, N.J., club office.

During the meeting, Trump allegedly told the person that an ongoing military operation in an unknown country was not going well and then showed them a classified map of the country.

Trump allegedly said he should not be showing it to them and that they should not get too close to it. The PAC official did not have security clearance to known about the operation.

"This is not appropriate," Cannon wrote in her ruling concerning the paragraph. "Pre-trial notice must be given with supporting reasons justifying a permissible non-propensity use for the allegations."

The ruling has little bearing on charges brought against Trump and is more of a criticism directed at special counsel Jack Smith who filed them.

In her ruling Monday, Cannon, a Trump appointee, criticized the federal prosecutors for using a so-called speaking indictment that includes nonessential allegations to create a narrative of its case.

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Cannon said that much of the language used in the indictment "is legally unnecessary," stating there are "risks that can flow from a prosecutor's decision to include in a charging document an extensive narrative account of his or her view of the facts, especially in cases of significant public interest."

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