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Donald Trump files motions seeking to dismiss classified documents case

The legal team for former U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday filed several motions seeking to dismiss a case accusing him of illegally retaining classified documents after leaving the White House. File Pool Photo by Brendan McDermid/UPI
The legal team for former U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday filed several motions seeking to dismiss a case accusing him of illegally retaining classified documents after leaving the White House. File Pool Photo by Brendan McDermid/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 23 (UPI) -- Lawyers representing Donald Trump have asked a federal judge to dismiss an indictment charging the former president over his alleged illegal retention and handling of classified documents after he left the White House.

Trump faces 3740counts related to classified documents that were seized by the FBI in a raid of his Mar-a-Lago residence in Palm Beach, Fla., in August 2022.

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His attorneys Thursday night filed four motions asking the court to dismiss the case on the grounds that Trump enjoys presidential immunity, that the Espionage Act he is charged under is constitutionally vague, that Special Counsel Jack Smith was unlawfully appointed and that the former president's possession of the records was permitted by the Presidential Records Act.

Trump pleaded not guilty to the charges in June, and the trial is slated to start in May, though the legal strategy of his team has seemingly been to delay the case as has been seen in the other indictments he faces.

In the filings Thursday, Trump's legal team puts forth arguments that stretch interpretations of the law, and even some that have been previously dismissed by other courts.

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In one filing, his attorneys argue Trump enjoys presidential immunity, even though a federal appeals court earlier this month rejected the notion he was shielded from prosecution over alleged attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election by being president at the time of the accused crime.

In the second filing, they argue over the language used in the Espionage Act, specifically the term "unauthorized possession" of documents in relation to his position as former president.

The third filing attacks Attorney General Merrick Garland's appointment of Smith as special counsel in the case in November 2022, stating he needed congressional approval to do so.

And the fourth filing seeks the dismissal of the case by arguing Trump had the power to designate the records at issue as personal under the Presidential Records Acts.

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