Florida judge hearing Trump’s bid to dismiss documents charges

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A Florida judge was holding a hearing Wednesday on a bid by former US president Donald Trump to dismiss the charges he faces for allegedly mishandling classified documents.

The hearing is being held in Fort Pierce, Florida, before District Judge Aileen Cannon, who has already indefinitely postponed Trump’s criminal trial in that case.

 

Trump, who is seeking to recapture the White House in November, and a co-defendant, his valet Walt Nauta, have filed separate motions with Cannon seeking to have the case thrown out.

 

Trump pleaded not guilty in Florida in June to the federal charges of unlawfully retaining national defence information, conspiracy to obstruct justice and making false statements.

He kept the classified files — which included records from the Pentagon, CIA and National Security Agency — unsecured at his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida and thwarted official efforts to retrieve them, according to the indictment.

 

Trump — who is currently on trial in New York, accused in a separate case of falsifying business records to pay hush money to a porn star — is not expected to attend Wednesday’s proceedings.

 

The dismissal motion to be heard on Wednesday is the latest of several that Trump’s lawyers have unsuccessfully filed with Cannon in a bid to have the charges tossed out.

The hearing is the first in the case since Cannon, on May 7, indefinitely postponed Trump’s trial, which had been scheduled to begin this month.

 

Cannon, a Trump appointee, said the planned May 20 start date was not possible because of the number of pre-trial motions before the court.

 

The postponement was a major setback for special counsel Jack Smith, who brought the charges against Trump and makes it unlikely the case will be heard before the presidential election — now less than six months away.

 

Trump’s attorneys have sought to delay his various criminal cases until after the election when Trump could potentially have the federal charges against him dropped if he wins.

In addition to the New York and Florida cases, Trump has also been charged in Washington and Georgia with trying to overturn the results of the 2020 election won by Democrat Joe Biden, his likely November opponent.

 

AFP

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