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Judge rejects Trump aide’s motion to dismiss indictment over classified documents

Nauta is accused of obstructing the investigation into classified government documents.

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

Nauta’s lawyers sought to have the charges against him dismissed, arguing that investigators had prosecuted him in a “selective” and “vindictive” manner, an assertion Judge Aileen Cannon considered during a hearing in May.

In an order issued Saturday, Cannon denied the motion to dismiss the case, ruling that Nauta failed to prove the allegation was “motivated by a discriminatory purpose” or that others who engaged in similar conduct were not prosecuted.

Nauta, who worked for Trump in the White House before accompanying him to Florida after his presidency, has pleaded not guilty to eight counts in the criminal case related to Trump’s handling of classified documents. The charges include conspiracy to obstruct justice and making false statements.

Nauta’s attorneys argued in part that he was “discriminatorily prosecuted” for invoking his Fifth Amendment right not to testify before a grand jury investigating alleged withholding of classified documents and obstruction of justice, but Cannon was not convinced that Nauta’s decision not to testify led to the charges.

“Even if the Court were to accept that Defendant Nauta invoked his Fifth Amendment right, there is no evidence to show 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 made by Trump’s lawyers, 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 Saturday, Cannon delayed some of the case’s deadlines following Trump’s request to stay proceedings in light of the Supreme Court’s presidential immunity ruling.

He ordered additional information on the impact of the Supreme Court ruling ahead of a status conference on the case on July 22.