Federal Court Denies Trump's Request to Drop Charges: Obstruction Case Moves Forward

  • by:
  • Source: Wayne Dupree
  • 06/12/2024
On June 10, the federal court overseeing a criminal case involving the former president Donald Trump denied his request to have certain charges dropped. In a Florida federal court, Judge Aileen Cannon, who is presiding over the case, mostly supported the prosecution and upheld the superseding indictment, which includes obstruction charges against Trump.

Trump and his co-defendants argued that the superseding indictment failed to state an offense and should be thrown out. Special counsel Jack Smith and his team disagreed, asserting that the charging document was legally sound.

While Judge Cannon acknowledged issues with the indictment, she deemed they did not merit the dismissal of the charges. She emphasized that these deficiencies, though generating some confusion, were either permissible by law, presented evidentiary challenges not suitable for resolution at this stage, or did not necessitate dismissal even if technically deficient, provided the jury receives appropriate instructions and verdict forms.

According to Trump and co-defendant Walt Nauta, the special counsel incorrectly charged them with multiple offenses within a single count in certain parts of the indictment. For instance, Count 34 accused Trump and Nauta of violating a law prohibiting actions to induce someone to withhold testimony or documents from an official proceeding. The superseding indictment alleged that Trump attempted to persuade an attorney to conceal documents from a grand jury, and both Trump and Nauta misled the attorney by relocating marked boxes to prevent their discovery.

The defendants argued that the count's duplicity and misjoinder violated Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 8, causing significant prejudice by blending defendants and charges within one count. However, Judge Cannon disagreed, stating that the counts did not charge them with multiple separate offenses. While the format of counts 34 and 36 might be unconventional and prone to confusion, the court found that neither count warranted dismissal on grounds of duplicity.

Judge Cannon emphasized that while the specific format may require clear prompts and separate verdict forms for the jury to determine each defendant's alleged conduct, neither count charged more than one crime. Arguments against other counts were deemed suitable for jury consideration and did not justify dismissal at that time.


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