Judge rejects President Trump’s attempt to dismiss classified documents lawsuit with warning


supervising federal judge donald trump’s Prosecutors charged with possessing classified documents argued that the Presidential Records Act allows him to convert classified documents into personal property and keep them at his Mar-a-Lago club. He denied his efforts to have the case dismissed.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Eileen Cannon was significant because it struck down one of President Trump’s main defenses and signaled the case would head to trial.

of cannon 3 page order We rejected Trump’s motion to dismiss based on the fact that his claims regarding the Presidential Records Act did not directly address the applicability of the Espionage Act, which Trump is accused of violating. , meaning that it does not give her grounds to sue.

But the order leaves open the possibility that Mr. Trump could raise his Presidential Records Act theory as a defense at trial, and that Mr. Cannon could instruct the jury to evaluate Mr. Trump’s theory in a useful way. Ta. That could ensure Trump’s acquittal..

For prosecutors in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s office, the way jurors are instructed is a source of great concern. The case comes after a judge last month ordered both sides to prepare jury instructions that envision two scenarios that specifically evaluate Trump’s defense.

Cannon asked Trump and prosecutors to write jury instructions, assuming it is true that Trump has the authority under the Presidential Records Act to turn White House documents into personal records. I was looking for it. This implicitly means Trump has the authority to preserve the documents.

Authority issues are key to the case, as President Trump is charged with illegally storing national security materials under the Espionage Act. If President Trump can prove that he somehow has the authority to store the documents at Mar-a-Lago, prosecution would be impossible.

More important is whether Mr. Cannon actually enforces such instructions at trial. That’s because if it were done after jurors were sworn in, it would trigger double jeopardy protection for Trump. If Trump is subsequently acquitted, prosecutors would not be able to retry the case.

In the first scenario, it would be up to a jury to decide whether prosecutors could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that President Trump did not designate each classified document he brought to Mar-a-Lago as personal property. I expected it.

In the second scenario, Trump had the “sole authority” to preserve the documents he saw as his personal records as president, and the fact that Trump took the documents to Mar-a-Lago. The assumption was that that meant it was an important document. personal record.

The prosecutor responded to Cannon as follows: 24 pages of sharply written filing On Tuesday, he made it clear that he believes both scenarios are legally wrong, but that it is possible to prove that confidential documents are not personal, so how to approach the first scenario. suggested that it could be found.

But prosecutors say the second scenario would be fatal to their case because it would make it easier for President Trump to claim all the classified documents seized at Mar-a-Lago as his personal property. Yes, and prosecutors wrote that they had no way to dispute that. Claim.

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Tuesday’s filing represents a moment of frustration for prosecutors, who urged Cannon to uphold a “fundamentally flawed legal premise” to either appeal or have a higher court directly dictate how the warrant of execution should proceed. They demanded immediate clarification on whether they intend to do so. .

The request earned prosecutors a scathing rebuke from Cannon, who called the request “unprecedented” and “unreasonable.”

Cannon wrote that he refuses to state his position on how he would instruct jurors, and that his request for draft jury instructions from prosecutors does not apply to prosecutors unless the issue at hand has been previously litigated. He said that this was an attempt to better understand the positions of both sides in an unprecedented incident.

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“President Trump’s Presidential Records Act claims could come up again at trial despite judge denying motion to dismiss. Overseeing Donald Trump’s prosecution on secrecy charges. A federal judge…
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Source link: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2024/apr/04/trump-classified-document-case-not-dismissed-deposed-media