Written by Ashton Snyder on
 July 6, 2024

Trump Seeks Pause In Classified Documents Case

Former President Donald Trump is asking for a delay in the legal proceedings involving his classified documents case.

He argues that a recent Supreme Court decision on presidential immunity is crucial to his defense in the documents matter, potentially throwing a wrench into special counsel Jack Smith's plans, as the Washington Examiner reports.

On Friday, Trump's legal team urged Judge Aileen Cannon to halt most of the proceedings in his classified documents case. They claim the Supreme Court’s decision on the immunity of presidents is pertinent to Trump's situation.

Trump's attorneys argue that presidents are accorded a certain level of immunity from criminal prosecution, a stance recently supported by the Supreme Court. They seek time to present their arguments regarding the impact of this ruling on Trump’s case.

Judge Asked to Pause Proceedings

In addition to pausing the majority of proceedings, Trump's defense team requested that only a pending dispute over a gag order remain active. This request, connected to a sought gag order by Smith, aims to address foundational issues first.

Trump’s attorneys emphasized the necessity of resolving these “threshold questions” to prevent negative impacts on the Presidency. They believe a partial stay is needed to avoid wasting judicial resources and exploiting the courts by Executive Branch personnel.

This move is seen as a strategy by Trump's team to address presidential immunity claims that were initially raised in February. They aimed to dismiss charges related to Trump’s alleged retention of national defense information.

Trump's Legal Team Cites Supreme Court Decision

Trump’s attorneys argue that actions taken by Trump while still in office, including allegedly retaining documents, enjoy presidential protections. They argue that these actions should be shielded from criminal prosecution.

Smith’s team responded to these claims by asserting that Trump was not indicted for any activities he performed as president. Instead, prosecutors focus on allegedly unlawful acts not protected by his previous office.

The Supreme Court's ruling on presidential immunity involved a separate case against Trump in Washington, D.C. However, Trump's attorneys now argue this ruling supports their case both in Florida and New York.

Justice Thomas's Opinion Bolsters Case

Trump’s legal team asserts that the Supreme Court's decision undermines Smith’s position that Trump has no immunity. They lean on Justice Clarence Thomas’s concurring opinion, which supports Trump’s request to dismiss the case. In his opinion, Justice Thomas highlighted concerns about the separation of powers relevant to the appointment of Smith by Attorney General Merrick Garland. These concerns are central to Trump’s defense strategy.

The attorneys also contend that addressing Smith’s appointment is paramount before continuing with the classified documents case. They argue that such foundational questions must be resolved to prevent adverse consequences. Trump’s request to Judge Cannon on Friday marks a significant step in their legal strategy. By pointing to the Supreme Court’s recent rulings, Trump’s legal team seeks to dismiss parts of the case against him.

The response from Smith's team underscores the prosecution’s focus on facts the government says are unrelated to Trump's official presidential acts. This highlights the ongoing legal battles between Trump’s team and federal prosecutors.

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About Ashton Snyder

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