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Judge in the Florida Trump classified documents case will hear more arguments on dismissing charges

By The Associated Press
Posted 12:22AM on Wednesday 22nd May 2024 ( 1 month ago )

FORT PIERCE, Fla. (AP) — Prosecutors and defense lawyers in the classified documents case against former President Donald Trump are due in court Wednesday for the first time since the judge indefinitely postponed the trial earlier this month.

The case, among four criminal prosecutions against Trump, had been set for trial on May 20 but U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon cited numerous issues she has yet to resolve as a basis for canceling the trial date.

On Wednesday, Cannon was scheduled to hear arguments on a Trump request to dismiss the indictment on grounds that it fails to clearly articulate a crime and instead amounts to “a personal and political attack against President Trump” with a “litany of uncharged grievances both for public and media consumption.”

Prosecutors on special counsel Jack Smith's team, which brought the case, will argue against that request. Trump, a Republican, is not expected to be present for the hearing.

The motion is one of several that Trump’s lawyers have filed to dismiss the case, some of which have already been denied.

Also scheduled for Wednesday are arguments by a Trump co-defendant, his valet Walt Nauta, to dismiss charges.

The arguments come one day after a newly unsealed motion reveals that defense lawyers are seeking to exclude evidence from the boxes of records that FBI agents seized during a search of Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach nearly two years ago.

The defense lawyers asserted in the motion that the August 2022 search was unconstitutional and “illegal” and the FBI affidavit filed in justification of it was tainted by misrepresentations.

Smith's team rejected each of those accusations and defended the investigative approach as “measured” and “graduated.” It said the search warrant was obtained after investigators collected surveillance video showing what it said was a concerted effort to conceal the boxes of classified documents inside the property.

“The warrant was supported by a detailed affidavit that established probable cause and did not omit any material information. And the warrant provided ample guidance to the FBI agents who conducted the search. Trump identifies no plausible basis to suppress the fruits of that search,” prosecutors wrote.

The defense motion was filed in February but was made public on Tuesday, along with hundreds of pages of documents from the investigation that were filed to the case docket in Florida.

Those include a previously sealed opinion last year from the then-chief judge of the federal court in Washington, which said that Trump's lawyers, months after the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago, had turned over four additional documents with classification markings that were found in Trump's bedroom.

That March 2023 opinion from U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell directed a former lead lawyer for Trump in the case to abide by a grand jury subpoena and to turn over materials to investigators, rejecting defense arguments that their cooperation was prohibited by attorney-client privilege and concluding that prosecutors had made a “prima facie" showing that Trump had committed a crime.

Trump, the GOP presumptive presidential nominee for 2024, has pleaded not guilty and denied any wrongdoing.

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Tucker reported from Washington.

FILE - The indictment against former President Donald Trump is photographed on Friday, June 9, 2023. Prosecutors and defense lawyers in the classified documents case against former President Donald Trump are due in court Wednesday, May 22, 2024, for the first time since the judge indefinitely postponed the trial earlier in May. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick, File)
FILE - Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally May 1, 2024, in Waukesha, Wis. Trump told Republican donors Saturday, May 5, at Mar-a-Lago, that President Joe Biden is running a "Gestapo administration," the latest example of the former president employing the language of Nazi Germany in his campaign rhetoric. The remarks were described by people who attended the event and spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private session. (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)

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