23 May 2024, 09:41
Update : 23 May 2024, 09:55

Florida judge hears bids to dismiss Trump documents charges

MIAMI, May 23, 2024 (BSS/AFP) - A Florida judge held hearings on Wednesday
on bids by former president Donald Trump and his co-defendants to dismiss the
charges they face for allegedly mishandling classified documents.

The hearings were held in Fort Pierce, Florida, before District Judge Aileen
Cannon, who has indefinitely postponed Trump's criminal trial in the case.

Lawyers for Trump, who is seeking to recapture the White House in November,
and his co-defendants -- his valet Walt Nauta and Mar-a-Lago property manager
Carlos De Oliveira -- have filed multiple motions seeking to have the case
thrown out.

Trump pleaded not guilty in Florida in June to the federal charges of
unlawfully retaining national defense 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 -- did not
attend Wednesday's proceedings.

Cannon, a Trump appointee, first heard a motion filed by Nauta claiming that
his prosecution was "vindictive" because he refused to cooperate with the
investigation into Trump.

The judge did not immediately rule on the motion or on a second dismissal
motion brought on behalf of all three defendants. Previous dismissal motions
have been denied.

Wednesday's hearings were the first since Cannon, on May 7, indefinitely
postponed the trial of the former president, which had been scheduled to
begin this month.

Cannon 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.

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