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Federal judge punts one of Trump’s dismissal motions in Florida documents case

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(The Center Square) – A federal judge denied one of former President Donald Trump’s motions to dismiss his classified documents case in Florida, but Trump has filed another motion asking the case be tossed over the FBI’s handling of evidence.

Judge Aileen Cannon rejected Trump’s motion to dismiss multiple charges in the case, but did agree to strike some language from the indictment filed by special counsel Jack Smith and his team. In the alternative, Trump’s team had sought to have parts of the indictment tossed out. Cannon agreed to cut one paragraph from the indictment that “improperly contained uncharged offense allegations,” but said the rest could remain.

Trump filed a fresh motion to dismiss this week, alleging that the FBI’s handling of evidence spoiled the case.

In that motion, Trump’s legal team argued that the FBI’s failure to document where in the boxes the classified documents were found means the case should be dismissed.

“The prosecution team destroyed exculpatory evidence supporting one of the most basic defenses available to President Trump in response to the politically motivated charges in this case,” Trump’s team wrote in the latest motion. “The Special Counsel’s Office has wrongfully alleged that President Trump was aware of the contents of boxes in August 2022, where those boxes were packed by others in the White House and moved to Florida in January 2021. The fact that the allegedly classified documents were buried in boxes and comingled with President Trump’s personal effects from his first term in office strongly supported the defense argument that he lacked knowledge and culpable criminal intent with respect to the documents at issue.”

Trump’s legal team said that attorneys had told FBI agents to track and photograph where in the boxes the classified documents were found. Trump’s team said that never happened. As a result, they argued the charges should be dismissed and all evidence seized in the raid on Mar-A-Lago should be suppressed.

“We do know that the boxes contained items such as newspapers and letters dated long before President Trump’s first term in office ended,” Trump’s defense attorneys wrote in the motion. “It would have been potentially useful, and likely powerful in some instances, for the defense to be able to use this proximity to show how long the allegedly classified documents had resided in those boxes. Due to the spoliation, however, there are no comparable means to present the most forceful articulation of this argument at trial.”

Trump has pleaded not guilty to 40 felony counts that allege he kept sensitive military documents, shared them with people who didn’t have security clearance, and tried to dodge the government’s attempts to get them back.

Trump has repeatedly said that the civil and criminal charges he faces are the result of politically motivated prosecutions designed to keep him from returning to the White House.

Trump is gearing up for a rematch in November with President Joe Biden.

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