The judge rejects Trump’s bid to dismiss the case involving classified documents, but agrees to proceed with the charges

Washington — Federal judge supervising special prosecutor Jack Smith case with secret documents against Donald Trump has once again rejected requests by the former president’s legal team to dismiss the charges against him, according to an order filed Monday evening.

Judge Aileen Cannon denied numerous claims by defense lawyers for Trump and his co-defendants arguing that the 2023 indictment contained technical errors, but she criticized prosecutors’ characterization of one event as unnecessary in connection with the charges and agreed to strike one paragraph from the indictment document because it said so. contained incorrectly unsubstantiated allegations of a crime.”

Smith charged Trump with 40 counts, including unlawfully retaining national defense information after investigators recovered hundreds of classified documents from his stay at the White House at his Florida estate. The former president and his co-defendants — advisor to Walt Naut and former Mar-a-Lago employee Carlos de Oliveira — are also accused of participating in an alleged scheme to obstruct federal investigations.

All three pleaded not guilty and denied committing the crime.

Smith’s office declined to comment on the recent ruling. Trump’s representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Special Counsel Jack Smith.

Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Trump, Nauta and de Oliveira presented numerous arguments to the court in an attempt to have the charges dismissed before trial, including: alleging that several alleged offenses were listed under one charge and that prosecutors had failed to prove that Nauta and de Oliveria knew of the existence of secret documents in the boxes they were accused of moving. The defense also argued that the form in which the charges were formulated was technically insufficient.

Cannon rejected these claims because she said the accusation language was legally admissible. She wrote that in certain circumstances these issues may be raised by the defense at trial.

While it was a near-total victory for Smith, in his ruling the judge also criticized the style of the special counsel’s indictment as containing “irrelevant allegations that more closely resemble a narrative of the government’s prosecution theory.” Cannon wrote a “talking indictment” — a term used to describe a descriptive charging document — that included allegations and language against Trump that were “legally unnecessary” in the context of the charges.

Despite the criticism, she ruled that almost the entire 60-page indictment would stand, except for one paragraph in which prosecutors described a moment in 2021 when Trump allegedly showed a person without a security clearance a secret map of a foreign country.

Former President Donald Trump speaks during a Turning Point PAC town hall at Dream City Church on June 6, 2024 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The judge wrote that this paragraph was unnecessary and would be deleted from the indictment because Trump is not accused of showing secret documents to anyone. However, it left open the possibility that the alleged conduct could be included in any trial after appropriate judicial proceedings.

Her ruling was consistent with comments she has made in previous court hearings, during which she specifically referred to the documents outlining the allegations against Trump as a “spoken indictment” and noted their length.

Cannon’s order released Monday also mirrored others released in recent months in which she rejected Trump’s legal arguments but was critical of the special counsel and his prosecutors.

In April, she agreed with Smith that the names of potential witnesses should be released remain redacted in documents submitted to the public, but chided prosecutors for not making this particular argument sooner. Last month, Cannon criticized Smith’s team for failing to communicate with the defense and described them as “completely devoid of substance and professional courtesy” when she rejected their request to limit Trump’s speech on law enforcement in this matter. Cannon, however, allowed the special counsel to reconsider his request and is still considering it.

A trial date for the case has not yet been set as the judge stated she is working on other pre-trial matters. Cannon has previously rejected Trump’s other arguments that the charges should be dropped and has ordered public hearings on various motions during the summer months.

Smith also indicted Trump on four federal counts in Washington, accusing him of working to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. The former president has pleaded not guilty to these charges and the case is currently on hold until the Supreme Court considers his applications for presidential immunity in court.