Aileen Cannon striking a paragraph from the indictment won’t derail Trump case

Given U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon’s slow handling of Donald Trump’s classified documents case and the backlog of motions holding up a trial, it’s always notable when she makes decisions that might let a trial take place someday.

That happened Monday, when she rejected a defense motion that sought to dismiss charges for “pleading deficiencies,” while striking a paragraph from the indictment in the process.

The defense had raised a series of technical arguments about how the indictment is structured that weren’t expected to prevail. So Cannon’s rejection was correct, though she didn’t need to take as long as she did or hold a hearing to reach that obvious result. The bottom line, she wrote in an order, is that:

And that paragraph she struck from the indictment? That’s paragraph 36, which reads:

To be clear, Trump isn’t directly charged with the conduct in that paragraph, so this isn’t a dismissal of any charges. Rather, the judge explained in her order that the information in that paragraph was included as another crime, wrong or act besides those specifically charged. The judge deemed it inappropriate to put in the indictment but left open the possibility of it coming in at trial, subject to further litigation.

So while the government would, of course, prefer that Cannon hadn’t stricken that language, it’s not a move that should derail the Florida federal case against the former president. That derailment is being accomplished by Cannon’s overall slow-walking of the case, which doesn’t have a trial date and which Trump will surely crush if he wins the White House again in November.

Subscribe to the Deadline: Legal Newsletter for weekly updates on the top legal stories, including news from the Supreme Court, the Donald Trump cases and more.

This article was originally published on