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Criminal Case: U.S Judge ready to listen to Donald Trump



Criminal Case: U.S Judge ready to listen to Donald Trump

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, appointed by former President Donald Trump, has signaled receptiveness to the defense claims put forth by Trump in the criminal case accusing him of mishandling classified documents.

This stance suggests potential hurdles for prosecutors as the case progresses.

Judge Cannon has requested both Trump and prosecutors to propose jury instructions based on two legal scenarios favoring Trump’s claims, despite legal experts expressing doubts about their relevance to the charges.

The deadline for responses from Trump and Special Counsel Jack Smith, who brought the case, is Tuesday.

This latest instance underscores Cannon’s tendency to lend credence to Trump’s legal arguments regarding the handling of sensitive records removed to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida upon leaving the White House in 2021.

While Trump has encountered resistance from judges in various legal battles, Cannon’s receptiveness to his defense in this case could significantly influence its trajectory.

Former Justice Department national security official Brandon Van Grack remarked, “You have a court who is more favorable to the views of one party versus the other, and you’re seeing orders and decisions that are reflective of that.”

Trump, who has pleaded not guilty to charges related to retaining secret records concerning U.S. national defense and obstructing government efforts to retrieve them, has framed the cases against him as politically motivated attempts to undermine his presidential campaign.

At the heart of Cannon’s recent order is Trump’s contention that he considered the documents personal property under a 1978 law allowing former presidents to retain records unrelated to their official duties.

Trump’s legal team asserts that his decision to retain the records signifies his view of them as personal property, a claim contested by prosecutors who argue that the documents pertain to national security matters and thus cannot be deemed personal.

Cannon’s order for dueling proposed jury instructions, assuming different legal interpretations, has drawn criticism from legal experts who view both scenarios as irrelevant and advantageous to the defendant.

Notably, Cannon has not ruled on motions to delay the scheduled May 20 trial, indicating uncertainty regarding the trial date.

Despite her receptiveness to Trump’s defense claims, Cannon has not escaped scrutiny entirely, as evidenced by Trump’s criticism of judges overseeing his other legal cases. Nonetheless, she has previously ruled in Trump’s favor on certain legal challenges related to the investigation.

In a recent development, Cannon rejected an attempt by Trump’s defense to invalidate the central charge against him, though she acknowledged the issue raised arguments warranting further consideration.