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HomeNewsTrump’s Attempt to Shut Down Two Criminal Cases Against Him Fails

Trump’s Attempt to Shut Down Two Criminal Cases Against Him Fails

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Former President Donald Trump asked two courts to dismiss separate criminal cases brought against him. An attorney said Trump will seek to pause a civil fraud trial underway in New York.

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The judges in both cases have yet to decide on Trump’s other requests to dismiss the Georgia and federal prosecutions. The cases were brought by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and special counsel Jack Smith, respectively.

But the prospect of the cases eventually going before juries remains alive for now. The trial in a third criminal prosecution against Trump, the 2016 campaign hush money case brought in New York, is on track to start this month.

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However, the likelihood that the other cases against Trump will go to trial before the November election is very much still in the air. 

Trump Strategic Ways

The delay has been a key part of the former president’s strategy. He has also had considerable success prolonging the pretrial litigation in the cases against him.

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At one point, the D.C. case was moving the most quickly among all the Trump criminal cases. It is now on hold while the Supreme Court considers whether Trump’s status as a former president grants him immunity from those criminal charges.

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

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A Dismissed Case 

In the classified documents case proceeding in South Florida, US District Judge Aileen Cannon declined Trump’s request. She dismissed the case based on his arguments that he had the authority to take classified or sensitive documents with him after he left the White House.

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However, Cannon’s short order left open the possibility that Trump could still use the argument to defend himself at trial or bring it up in other pretrial proceedings. The judge, a Trump appointee, didn’t detail her views on Trump’s claims.

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He made the claims, citing the Presidential Records Act. Cannon wrote that prosecutors “make 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 oppose the special counsel’s request to make a final ruling on whether the theory could be incorporated into the jury instructions of an eventual trial so prosecutors could appeal such a ruling to the 11th Circuit. She said that “demand” was “unprecedented and unjust.”

More than a dozen motions, including motions to dismiss the case, remain for Cannon to decide.

Why Did the Judge Reject Trump’s Free Speech Arguments?

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 under the First Amendment.

“The defense has not presented, nor is the Court able to find, any authority that the speech and conduct alleged is protected political speech,” the Atlanta-area judge wrote in his order. McAfee’s ruling is the latest step in advancing the state racketeering case against Trump. 

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Willis has suggested she would be ready to go to trial as soon as August. However, the judge has still not set a trial date for Trump or his remaining 14 co-defendants. The decision comes as some of Trump’s fellow defendants consider seeking a gag order against Willis after she publicly commented about the case.

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Judge McAfee Refused to Scrap Indictment 

McAfee refuses to scrap the indictment because the free speech defense has repeatedly fallen short in pretrial. “After interpreting the indictment’s language liberally in favor of the State as required at this pretrial stage,” McAfee wrote in his order.

“The Court finds that the Defendants’ expressions and speech are alleged to have been made in furtherance of criminal activity.” The judge added, “Also, constitute false statements knowingly and willfully made in matters within a government agency’s jurisdiction. This threatens to deceive and harm the government.”

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