"Not appropriate": Cannon removes indictment text referring to Trump sharing classified information

A paragraph that describes Trump sharing classified military documents was ruled “not appropriate” by judge

Published June 11, 2024 12:23PM (EDT)

Judge Aileen Cannon (United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida)
Judge Aileen Cannon (United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida)

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon decided Monday to throw out a paragraph from the federal indictment of former President Donald Trump detailing his haphazard handling of classified information, claiming it is not relevant because it is not explicitly connected to a specific crime he is accused of committing.

The paragraph in question describes an instance where Trump showed a classified military document to a representative of his political action committee without security clearance while at his private club in Bedminster, New Jersey. 

The ruling comes after Trump’s legal team requested the charges against him be dismissed for not clearly stating the “distinct violations of federal law." 

Judge Cannon denied the defense request in a 14-page ruling, stating the language of the indictment is “permissible," but did agree to strike paragraph 36.

The 60-page indictment against Trump was filed by special prosecutor Jack Smith and accuses the former president of  illegally retaining classified documents and keeping them at his home in Palm Beach, Florida. Trump has pleaded not guilty to each of the 40 charges.

In the ruling, Cannon criticized Smith for including using “legally unnecessary” allegations and language to describe the charges.

A trial was supposed to begin in May but has been pushed back as Cannon deals with a host of pretrial motions and hearings. The exclusion of paragraph 36 will have little impact on the case, The Washington Post reported, noting that prosecutors can introduce the same evidence at trial.

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