Trump suffers setbacks in his efforts to close two of the criminal cases against him

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Former president donald trump suffered two major setbacks Thursday in its efforts to derail criminal cases against it, with judges in the Georgia election interference case and in the federal classified documents Both cases reject bids by the presumptive 2024 Republican presidential nominee to have those cases dismissed.

The judges in both cases have yet to decide other requests filed by Trump seeking dismissal of the federal and Georgia prosecutions, which were filed by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and Special Prosecutor Jack Smith, respectively. . But for now, the prospect of the cases finally coming before juries remains alive, and of a third criminal trial against Trump: the 2016 campaign hush money case brought to New York, is on track to begin this month.

The New York case aside, the likelihood that the other prosecutions against Trump – which also include a federal election subversion case brought in Washington, D.C. by the special counsel – will go to trial before the November election still remains. in the air. The delay has been a key part of the former president’s strategy, and has had considerable success in prolonging pre-trial litigation in the proceedings against him. The D.C. case, which at one point was moving the fastest of all of Trump’s criminal cases, is now on hold while the Supreme Court considers whether Trump’s status as a former president grants immunity of those criminal charges. Those arguments are scheduled for this month.

Trump has made similar arguments about presidential immunity in the Georgia case and in the classified documents case. He has pleaded not guilty in all four criminal cases.

In the case of classified documents, which takes place in South Florida, US District Judge Aileen Cannon On Thursday he rejected Trump’s request to dismiss the case based on his arguments that he had the authority to take classified or sensitive documents with him after leaving the White House.

Cannon’s brief order, however, kept open the possibility that Trump could still use the argument to defend himself at trial or raise it in other pretrial proceedings.

The judge, a Trump appointee, did not detail her opinion on the claims Trump was making, based on a law called the Presidential Records Act, but said Trump’s lawyers did not meet the legal standard for dismissing the charges.

He wrote that prosecutors “made no reference to the Presidential Records Act” in the indictment against Trump and did not “rely” on the statute to bring charges.

Cannon also used the order to reject a request from the special counsel that he make a final decision on whether the theory could be incorporated into jury instructions for an eventual trial, so prosecutors could appeal that decision to the 11th Circuit. He said the “demand” was “unfair and unprecedented.”

There are still more than a dozen motions pending for Cannon to decide, including several other motions to dismiss the case.

In the Georgia election subversion case, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee rejected the argument that Trump’s alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election were protected by the First Amendment.

“The defense has not presented, nor can the Court find, any authority indicating that the alleged speech and conduct is protected political speech,” the Atlanta-area judge wrote in his order.

McAfee’s ruling is the latest step in slowly advancing the state’s racketeering case against Trump. Willis has suggested she would be ready to go to trial in August, but the judge has not yet set a trial date for Trump or the remaining 14 co-defendants in the Peach State.

The decision comes as some of Trump’s fellow defendants consider seeking a gag order against Willis after having made public comments on the case.

McAfee’s refusal to dismiss the charge comes as the defense of free speech has repeatedly fallen short in pretrial disputes in election meddling cases.

“After liberally interpreting the language of the indictment in favor of the State as required at this pretrial stage, the Court finds that the expressions and speech of the defendants are alleged to have been made in furtherance of criminal activity and constitute false statements made knowingly and intentionally in matters within the jurisdiction of a government agency that threaten to deceive and harm the government,” McAfee wrote in his order issued Thursday.

McAfee previously rejected similar First Amendment challenges brought by other defendants in the Georgia case. In the federal election interference case filed in Washington, DC, For the special counsel, Judge Tanya Chutkan also heard – and rejected – the argument that Trump’s actions should be considered protected political speech.

The Fulton County District Attorney’s Office declined to comment on McAfee’s Thursday order.

Trump’s Georgia lawyer, Steve Sadow, said in a statement that Trump and other defendants “respectfully disagree” with the ruling and will explore their options.

“Significantly, the court’s ruling made clear that defendants were not precluded from re-raising their ‘challenges as applied at the appropriate time after the establishment of a factual record,’” the statement read. Sadow.

01:36 – Source: CNN

Why Ty Cobb doesn’t believe Judge Cannon’s ‘incompetence’

While Cannon’s new order in the classified federal documents case was a loss for Trump, prosecutors were also rebuffed in their request for more clarity from the judge about how she views the Presidential Records Act in the context of the case.

Smith made the request as Cannon directed both sides to present hypothetical jury instructions that would take into account Trump’s claims of broad authority to withhold records.

Cannon defended that exercise in Thursday’s order, saying it should not “be construed as anything other than what it was: a genuine attempt, in the context of the upcoming trial, to better understand the parties’ competing positions and the questions at hand.” will submit to the jury in this complex case of first impression.”

The post-Watergate PRA governs how records are handled after an administration ends, including the release of presidential records to the National Archives. Trump has claimed that, under the law, he had the ultimate authority to decide what documents are his personal records and are allowed to keep in his possession.

Prosecutors have maintained that the PRA is not relevant to the charges. In court papers, they argued that Trump’s theory that the law allowed him to designate classified records as his personal documents was a “fiction” invented many months after he left office.

Cannon said Thursday that his requests for jury instructions “should not be misconstrued as a statement of a final ruling on any essential element or defense asserted in this case.”

This story and headline have been updated with additional reporting.

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