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Trump files another motion to have his Florida case dismissed, claims prosecution was lenient toward Biden, Clinton in similar instances


Florida – Former President Donald Trump has once again drawn national attention after filing a motion last week to dismiss his Florida classified documents indictment, claiming “selective and vindictive prosecution.” This move comes after a previous unsuccessful attempt to dismiss the case based on the Presidential Records Act, which Judge Aileen Cannon rejected earlier in April.

Allegations of Selective Prosecution

In his new motion, filed on May 2, Trump’s legal team points to a February report by special counsel Robert Hur, which noted that historically, “with one exception, there is no record of the Department of Justice prosecuting a former president or vice president for mishandling classified documents from his own administration.”

Trump’s lawyers argue that this sets a precedent that their client is being unfairly targeted due to political reasons, particularly as President Joe Biden’s primary political rival.

The motion states: “President Donald J. Trump respectfully submits that the Indictment must be dismissed on the basis of the Office’s selective and vindictive prosecution. The exception is President Trump. The basis is his politics and status as President Biden’s chief political rival. Thus, this case reflects the type of selective and vindictive prosecution that cannot be tolerated. Accordingly, further discovery and a hearing are necessary, and the Superseding Indictment must be dismissed.”

Check also: Staunch Trump supporter from New York accuses special counsel in the Florida case of trying to sway election outcome, files complaint

Comparison with Other Top Officials

Furthermore, Trump’s defense highlights several past instances where top officials, including Joe Biden, Mike Pence, Hillary Clinton, and Bill Clinton, were involved in mishandling classified documents yet faced no criminal charges. They contrast these situations with Trump’s, where the DOJ proceeded with an indictment.

Examples Cited by Defense

The motion elaborates on instances involving other top officials:

  • President Biden was found to have dispersed classified documents across various unsecured locations from his tenure in the Senate to his vice presidency. Special counsel Hur concluded Biden acted “willfully,” but did not recommend prosecution.
  • Vice President Mike Pence reportedly informed the National Archives he had inadvertently retained a few classified documents post-administration, yet faced no charges.
  • The motion underscores that both Biden and Pence were allowed to return documents voluntarily, without the invasive searches that Trump endured, which his lawyers argue reflects a double standard.

Check also: Former Trump aides, advisers allegedly told Smith the ex-president “mishandled” classified documents even before leaving the White House: report

  • Former President Bill Clinton collaborated with historian Taylor Branch to record observations and work as president from 1993 to 2001. These recordings were used in Clinton’s autobiography “My Life” and Branch’s book “The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History With the President.” The motion highlights that these tapes contained sensitive information such as military operations and intelligence assessments. Despite the apparent classified nature of the tapes, “neither DOJ nor NARA even thought it possible to try to recover the tapes. There was no criminal investigation. There was no prosecution,” the motion claimed.
  • Additionally, the motion pointed to Hillary Clinton, who used a private email server for official communications as Secretary of State. Despite deleting thousands of emails and destroying data on electronic devices after a congressional preservation order, she faced no charges.

The Charges against Trump

In June 2023, special counsel Jack Smith brought charges against Trump and his aide, Walt Nauta, accusing them of mishandling over 300 classified documents. The charges encompass 31 counts under the Espionage Act and various other allegations, including conspiracy to obstruct justice and making false statements.

DOJ’s Response

The Department of Justice maintains that the charges are based solely on Trump’s actions, with no political bias influencing their decision. They contend that Trump’s situation is distinctly different from other cases cited by the defense, noting the extensive nature of the allegations against him.

“Trump contends … that he has been subject to selective and vindictive prosecution. But he has not identified anyone who has engaged in a remotely similar battery of criminal conduct and not been prosecuted as a result,” Smith argued. He further noted the lack of evidence suggesting that the indictment was a retaliatory measure against Trump, emphasizing that the legal actions taken were due to Trump’s repeated violations of the law.

Check also: New York judge “showed mercy” toward Trump, allowed him to travel to Florida

As the motion to dismiss progresses, it will be up to Cannon to decide whether Trump’s claims hold enough grounds for dismissal or if the case will continue toward trial. This ongoing legal battle not only raises questions about legal standards and political influence but also sets a significant precedent for how classified information is handled by public officials post-service.

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