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Judge Aileen Cannon Hands Jack Smith a Win on Motion to Dismiss – but Hands Trump One, Too

By Susie Moore


Alright, friends, buckle up. We’re about to discuss one of those procedural in-the-weeds-ish decisions handed down Monday by Judge Aileen Cannon in the classified documents case against former President Donald Trump.

The crux of the ruling is that Cannon denied Trump’s (and co-defendant Walt Nauta’s) motion to dismiss Special Counsel Jack Smith’s Superseding Indictment of the two on the basis of pleading deficiencies. (Before we go any further, note that there are multiple motions to dismiss in the matter, a couple of which remain pending — this one just has to do with whether the Superseding Indictment is properly pleaded.)

On the other hand, she did grant the defendants’ motion to strike one paragraph of the indictment, which we’ll delve into momentarily.

Here’s a brief overview of Monday’s ruling:

Trump’s legal team had sought to throw out more than a half-dozen of the 41 counts in the indictment, which accuses the former commander-in-chief of illegally hoarding classified documents from his presidency and conspiring with others to conceal sensitive files from the federal government.

The defendants had challenged counts related to obstruction and false statements, but U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon issued an order Monday saying that “the identified deficiencies, even if generating some arguable confusion, are either permitted by law, raise evidentiary challenges not appropriate for disposition at this juncture, and/or do not require dismissal even if technically deficient, so long as the jury is instructed appropriately and presented with adequate verdict forms as to each Defendants’ alleged conduct.”

The full 14-page Order can be viewed below, but in a nutshell, Cannon determined that the government’s pleading was good enough to make it past a motion to dismiss. That doesn’t mean it cannot be challenged later via a motion for summary judgment or at trial. It just means that on the face of the pleadings, the government cleared the bar, even if not in a particularly graceful fashion…


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