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Documents kept by Trump: a first motion rejected | Donald Trump facing justice

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Mar15,2024

Documents kept by Trump: a first motion rejected | Donald Trump faces justice

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Former American President Donald Trump as he leaves the courthouse in Fort Pierce, Florida.

  • Sophie-Hélène Lebeuf

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The Florida federal judge presiding over the lawsuit against former President Donald Trump for negligent handling of company secrets State on Thursday rejected one of several motions to drop the charges against him.

At the end of a nearly four-hour hearing on two of the nine motions filed by Mr. Trump's lawyers, Judge Aileen Cannon refuted their arguments that the Espionage Act, under which he was charged, is too vague and therefore unenforceable.

You would agree that declaring a law unconstitutionally vague would be a truly extraordinary measure, Judge Cannon told the defense attorneys.

This is the first time that the magistrate, who was appointed by Donald Trump, ruled on one of the numerous defense requests intended to abort the trial.

Thirty-two of the 40 charges brought against him in the case by special prosecutor Jack Smith were brought under the Espionage Act, which governs the handling of classified documents. The 32 charges correspond to as many confidential documents.

Donald Trump facing justice

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Donald Trump faces justice

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The other motion by defense attorneys that was argued during the day, and on which the judge did not rule, targets the Presidential Records Act. /p>

They claim that the former president declassified before the end of his term the documents he took to his residence in Mar- a-Lago and this therefore protects him from prosecution.

Even though she did not rule on this question, Judge Cannon seemed unreceptive to this argument. It's difficult to see how that argument can justify dismissing the charges, she said, adding that it is better suited to presentation before a jury.

Special Prosecutor Jack Smith accuses Donald Trump of endangering the national security of the United States by keeping confidential documents at his Mar-a-Lago residence after his departure from the White House, some of which had the most high degree of confidentiality.

The documents in question included information on the defense capabilities of the United States and foreign countries, on nuclear programs Americans and potential vulnerabilities in the event of an attack against the United States and its allies.

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According to the indictment, former President Donald Trump stored confidential documents in several rooms of his residence, including a bathroom. (File photo)

During the hearing, the defense argued that the prosecution was politically motivated. Donald Trump's lawyers cited special prosecutor Robert Hur's decision not to bring charges following his investigation into negligence in the handling of confidential documents by President Joe Biden. His report, however, noted differences between the two files.

In addition to the charges for illegal withholding of information relating to national security, the most numerous, Donald Trump is notably accused of conspiring to obstruction of justice and perjury.

He pleaded not guilty last summer.

Donald Trump, who earlier this week amassed enough delegates to secure the Republican nomination, questioned the legality of the appointment of the special prosecutor leading the investigation.

He also claimed, without proof, that Joe Biden, his expected rival for the November presidential election, had personally ordered the initiation of proceedings against him in order to harm his campaign.

Additionally, Judge Cannon has not yet set a trial date, nor has she set a date for additional hearings on the other motions.

Prosecutors would like the trial to begin July 8. Donald Trump's lawyers instead want a trial that would begin after the November election or, in the worst-case scenario, in August.

According to several analysts, Donald Trump's lawyers, in this case and in the three other criminal trials filed against him, are above all trying to save time.

The former head of state is notably accused of having attempted to invalidate the results of the 2020 presidential election, of having attempted to manipulate the 2020 presidential election in Georgia and having disguised the accounts of his New York company to conceal the payment of US$130,000 to a pornographic film star during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Because of all the delays caused by his requests, only one trial, that filed by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, for falsification of documents, could reach its outcome before the voters are called to the polls.

This is also the only trial for which a date had been set, March 25.

On Thursday, the New York prosecutor, however, proposed a 30-day delay, a counter-proposal to the request of Mr. Trump's lawyers, who are instead calling for a 90-day delay.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">The legal woes of the former tenant of the White House have not undermined his popularity among Republican voters. Recent polls on voting intentions for the presidential election even credit him with a slight lead over his Democratic opponent Joe Biden.

< em>With information from the New York Times and Washington Post

  • Sophie-Hélène LebeufFollow
Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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