Judge scraps evidence from Trump's classified docs case in eyebrow-raising move

Fort Pierce, Florida - The judge overseeing Donald Trump's classified documents case had a paragraph tossed from the indictment, adding to a pattern of legal moves that has left experts perplexed.

The judge overseeing Donald Trump's classified documents case is facing new criticism for previously expunging a section of the trial's indictment.
The judge overseeing Donald Trump's classified documents case is facing new criticism for previously expunging a section of the trial's indictment.  © JIM WATSON / AFP

Buried within a 14-page decision issued last July, Judge Aileen Cannon ruled to have paragraph 36 expunged from the indictment.

The paragraph referenced a 2021 incident where witnesses claimed to have seen Trump waving around a classified map of Afghanistan while at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

Judge Cannon argued that because Trump was never charged with a crime for the incident, including it in the indictment was prejudicial.

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To support her decision, she relied on federal Rule 404(b), which prohibits the use of evidence of "other crimes" against a defendant in an indictment in an effort "to prove a person's character in order to show that on a particular occasion, the person acted in accordance with the character."

But, according to The Guardian, legal experts have pointed out that the second half of the rule permits the use of the evidence if it is used to prove motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, or knowledge.

Judge Cannon continues to face criticism over questionable rulings

Since she was placed on the trial, critics have argued that Judge Cannon (pictured) has consistently made questionable rulings that appear to weigh heavily in Trump's favor.
Since she was placed on the trial, critics have argued that Judge Cannon (pictured) has consistently made questionable rulings that appear to weigh heavily in Trump's favor.  © IMAGO / Newscom World

Trump is facing federal charges for taking highly classified documents from the White House and obstructing efforts by authorities to retrieve them.

Since she was placed on the trial, critics have argued that Judge Cannon, who was appointed by Trump in 2020, has consistently made questionable rulings that appear to weigh heavily in Trump's favor.

Critics are now pointing to the resurfaced decision from last year as yet another example of her impartiality and could indicate how she could proceed to judge the case when it eventually goes to trial.

Most recently, Cannon heavy scrutiny after she ruled to delay the trial indefinitely, destroying prosecutors' efforts to get a start date before the general elections in November.

Cover photo: JIM WATSON / AFP

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