Judge denies Trump aide's motion to dismiss classified documents indictment

Nauta is accused of obstructing the government's classified documents probe.

July 6, 2024, 6:46 PM

The judge overseeing Donald Trump's classified documents case denied a motion to dismiss the charges against the former president's co-defendant and longtime aide, Walt Nauta.

Nauta's lawyers attempted to have the charges against him thrown out by arguing that he was "selectively" and "vindictively" prosecuted by investigators – a claim that Judge Aileen Cannon considered during a hearing in May.

Walt Nauta (2L), aide to former President Donald Trump, arrives at the Alto Lee Adams Sr. courthouse in Fort Pierce, Fla., on May 22, 2024.
Marco Bello/AFP via Getty Images

In an order issued saturday, Cannon denied the motion to dismiss the case, determining that Nauta failed to prove the prosecution was "motivated by a discriminatory purpose" or that others who engaged in similar conduct were not prosecuted.

Nauta – who first worked for Trump in the White House before accompanying him to Florida following Trump's presidency – pleaded not guilty to eight counts as part of the criminal case involving Trump's handling of classified documents. The charges include conspiracy to obstruct justice and making false statements.

Nauta's lawyers argued in part that he was "discriminatorily prosecuted" for invoking his Fifth Amendment right not to testify before a Grand Jury investigating the alleged retention of classified documents and obstruction of justice, but Cannon was unconvinced that Nauta's decision not to testify lead to the charges.

"Even if the Court were to accept that Defendant Nauta invoked his Fifth Amendment right, there is no evidence showing that Defendant Nauta's exercise of his privilege against self-incrimination motivated the charges against him," Cannon wrote.

Judge Cannon is still considering a similar argument brought by Trump's attorneys, and her order today noted that her dismissal of Nauta's motion had no bearing on Trump's argument.

"This Order shall not be construed as commenting on the merits of Defendant Trump's Motion to Dismiss the Indictment Based on Selective and Vindictive Prosecution or on any other motion pending before the Court," Cannon wrote.

In a separate order issued on Saturday, Cannon delayed some of the deadlines in the case following Trump's request to stay the proceedings in light of the Supreme Court's presidential immunity decision.

She ordered additional briefing about the impact of the Supreme Court's ruling ahead of a July 22 status conference in the case.

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