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Judge hears Trump motion to drop classified docs case

Trump's lawyers argued Thursday that the former president could designate government documents as personal.
Trump's lawyers want classified documents charges dropped
Posted at 5:49 AM, Mar 14, 2024

Attorneys for former President Donald Trump on Thursday asked a judge to throw out the case charging him with mishandling classified documents.

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon did not give an immediate ruling in the new development. She asked skeptical questions of Trump's attorneys and suggested that the case may ultimately be resolved by a jury.

Trump, who was present in the courtroom for the hearing, listened to the proceedings but did not comment. Special counsel Jack Smith was also present.

A trial date has been set for May 20, which is subject to change. Prosecutors have requested a date this summer, while defense attorneys have asked to have the case heard after the 2024 presidential election.

SEE MORE: Prosecutors are open to delaying start of Trump's hush money trial

Trump's lawyers argue that the Presidential Records Act of 1978 gave him the authority to designate government records as personal and to keep them after he left office. 

Special counsel Jack Smith says the documents law does not apply to classified material. 

The Department of Justice said that on Jan. 17, 2022, Trump provided 15 boxes containing 197 documents after the National Archives demanded he turn over records. On June 3, 2022, the DOJ said Trump’s attorneys handed over 38 additional classified documents. Then on Aug. 8, 2022, federal officials issued a search warrant. The DOJ said the warrant turned up 102 additional documents with classified markings.

The indictment alleges that Trump kept classified documents in a ballroom, in bathrooms and in showers at Mar-a-Lago. It also says that on at least two occasions Trump showed documents to individuals who were unauthorized to view classified documents.

The classified documents case before Judge Aileen Cannon is one of several criminal cases Trump is facing. He is also involved in a separate federal trial surrounding his involvement in the Jan. 6 insurrection. He faces charges in New York that he allegedly falsified business records. He is also facing a trial in Georgia over allegations he illegally tried to overthrow the results of the 2020 election.

Separately on Thursday, Judge Cannon denied a motion by Trump to dismiss charges against him in the documents case that claimed the charges were "unconstitutionally vague."

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