Trump asks judge to delay his classified docs case following Supreme Court immunity ruling

Written by on July 5, 2024

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(WASHINGTON) — Following the Supreme Court’s landmark decision on presidential immunity, former President Donald Trump’s lawyers on Friday asked the judge overseeing his classified documents case to delay the proceedings and reconsider two motions to dismiss the case in light of this week’s immunity ruling.

Trump’s lawyers asked U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon to pause all the proceedings in the documents case — other than a pending ruling regarding the special counsel’s request for a gag order — so that she can determine whether Trump’s alleged conduct in the case is “official or unofficial.”

In a blockbuster decision Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that Trump is entitled to presumptive immunity from criminal prosecution for official acts taken while in office.

Trump’s lawyers argued that the Supreme Court’s ruling “guts the [special counsel’s] position that President Trump has ‘no immunity’ and further demonstrates the politically-motivated nature of their contention that the motion is ‘frivolous.'”

Defense lawyers wrote that they plan to file a separate motion about the implications of the immunity decision, including limits on evidence related to official acts that prosecutors could be precluded from using at trial.

Trump’s attorneys also asked to renew another motion claiming that special counsel Jack Smith was unconstitutionally appointed, and asked Cannon to delay the case until those motions are resolved.

“The Court should resolve the threshold questions identified in Trump relating to Presidential immunity and the Appointments Clause, as well as the related issues presented in the Appropriations Clause motion, prior to addressing the other numerous problems with this case,” Trump’s lawyers wrote.

The move from Trump’s lawyers marks the second of the former president’s criminal cases to be likely impacted by the Supreme Court’s ruling on presidential immunity. Earlier this week, Trump’s lawyers asked a New York judge to throw out the former president’s conviction for falsifying business records by arguing the jury saw evidence that would have been protected by presidential immunity.

In Friday’s filing, Trump’s lawyers also emphasized a concurring decision from Justice Clarence Thomas that cast doubt on the legitimacy of Smith’s appointment — an argument that Cannon considered during a two-day hearing last month.

“If this unprecedented prosecution is to proceed, it must be conducted by someone duly authorized to do so by the American people,” Thomas wrote. “The lower courts should thus answer these essential questions concerning the Special Counsel’s appointment before proceeding.”

Trump pleaded not guilty last year to 40 criminal counts related to his handling of classified materials after leaving the White House, after prosecutors said he repeatedly refused to return hundreds of documents containing classified information and took steps to thwart the government’s efforts to get the documents back. Trump has denied all charges.

Lawyers for Smith and the former president are scheduled to return to Fort Pierce, Florida, on July 22 for a status conference in the documents case.

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