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Trump's Lawyers Were Back in Fort Pierce Federal Court Wednesday Again Seeking Dismissal of the Classified Documents Case Against the Former President

Fort Pierce - Wednesday May 22, 2024: Former President Trump's defense lawyers were back in Fort Pierce federal court Wednesday, again asking District Court Judge Aileen Cannon to dismiss the classified documents case against him. Trump was not in the courtroom.

This was the first hearing since Judge Cannon indefinitely postponed the trial earlier this month. The case had been set for trial this past Monday, May 20. But Judge Cannon cited numerous issues she has yet to resolve as grounds for canceling the trial date. No new trial date has been set.

Trump is accused of illegally hoarding classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate and obstructing government efforts to retrieve them. He is facing 32 felony counts of willful retention of national defense information in violation of the Espionage Act, 6 felony counts of obstruction-related crimes; and 2 felony counts of false statements under oath. A total of 40 felony charges. He has entered pleas of not guilty to all the charges.

Trump's attorneys sought dismissal of those charges arguing that they do not clearly articulate a crime, instead amounting to “a personal and political attack” with a “litany of uncharged grievances both for public and media consumption.”

This latest request for dismissal was one of several that Trump’s lawyers have filed, some of which have already been denied by Judge Cannon. Judge Cannon took the arguments under advisement. No decision was issued.

Also before Judge Cannon on Wednesday were arguments to dismiss the charges against Trump co-defendant and valet, Walt Nauta.

On Tuesday of this week a newly unsealed motion by the court revealed that defense lawyers are seeking to exclude some of the evidence from the boxes of records that FBI agents seized during a search of Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach nearly two years ago.

The defense asserts that the August 2022 search was unconstitutional and “illegal” and they claim that the FBI affidavit filed to justify the search was tainted by misrepresentations.

The Special Prosecutor has rejected the accusations and defended the investigative approach as “measured” and “graduated.” The prosecution maintains that the search warrant was obtained after investigators collected surveillance video showing what it said was a concerted effort to conceal the boxes of classified documents inside the property.

“The warrant was supported by a detailed affidavit that established probable cause and did not omit any material information. And the warrant provided ample guidance to the FBI agents who conducted the search. Trump identifies no plausible basis to suppress the fruits of that search,” prosecutors wrote.

The defense motion was filed in February but was made public on Tuesday, along with hundreds of pages of documents from the investigation that were filed to the case docket in Florida.

Those include a previously sealed opinion last year from the then-chief judge of the federal court in Washington, which said that Trump's lawyers, months after the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago, had turned over four additional documents with classification markings that were found in Trump's bedroom.

That March 2023 opinion from U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell directed a former lead lawyer for Trump in the case to abide by a grand jury subpoena and to turn over materials to investigators, rejecting defense arguments that their cooperation was prohibited by attorney-client privilege and concluding that prosecutors had made a “prima facie" showing that Trump had committed a crime.