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Citing presidential immunity, Trump lawyers seek dismissal of classified documents case

Citing presidential immunity, Trump lawyers seek dismissal of classified documents case


WASHINGTON Former President Donald Trump urged a Florida judge to dismiss the criminal case accusing him of illegally possessing classified documents, saying in part that presidential immunity protects him from prosecution, even though the sweeping argument has so far ' has now failed before the federal appeals courts in a separate case. .

In one of several motions attacking the case brought by special counsel Jack Smith, Trump's lawyers on Thursday evening repeated arguments that were roundly rejected by a federal appeals court this month in his case. 2020 election interference in Washington. Trump has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in the case as the Republican presidential primary nominee seeks to delay the trial until after the November election.

Trump's lawyers wrote that the charges related to the classified documents were based on his alleged decision to designate the documents as personnel records under the Presidential Records Act, and argued that he could not be prosecuted since he s This was an official act taken while he was still in the White House.

READ MORE: Trumps 2024 Trial: Where They Stand and What to Expect

In its ruling this month, the federal appeals court in Washington roundly rejected Trump's new assertion that former presidents have absolute immunity for actions that fall within their official duties. But Trump's lawyers argued the appeals court decision was wrong, telling U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon she should not follow the court's poorly reasoned decision in the classified documents case.

In other filings late Thursday, Trump's lawyers argued that Attorney General Merrick Garland's appointment of special counsel Smith to investigate the former president was illegal and grounds for dismissing the case involving documents. They also attack the law Trump is accused of violating because it is as unconstitutionally vague as the one applied in his case.

The case accuses Trump of illegally hoarding classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate and obstructing government efforts to recover them. A June 2023 indictment charging him with dozens of counts alleges investigators found boxes of sensitive documents recklessly stored at Mar-a-Lago in spaces including a ballroom, bathroom and a shower, his bedroom and a storage room.

Prosecutors said the documents he hid, refused to return and, in some cases, showed to visitors risked jeopardizing not only relations with foreign countries but also the security of troops and confidential sources. They also accused Trump of asking a staffer to delete camera footage from his Florida property in an effort to obstruct the federal investigation into his records.

The case is currently scheduled to go to trial in May, but Judge Cannon has pushed back several other deadlines and signaled his willingness to revisit the trial date during a crucial pretrial conference scheduled for March. It is one of four criminal cases the former president faces as he tries to win back the White House in November.

Smith's other case against Trump, accusing him of plotting to overturn his 2020 election defeat, was supposed to go to trial in March, but that date was canceled while the former president pushed forward his immunity claims presidential. Trump's lawyers have asked the Supreme Court to put the case on hold while he continues to fight his claims to presidential immunity.

The Supreme Court has already ruled that presidents are exempt from civil liability for official acts, and Trump's lawyers have argued for months that this protection should also be extended to criminal prosecutions.

The justices' decision on what to do and how quickly they act could determine whether the 2020 election case goes to trial before the November election. This carries huge political ramifications, because Trump, if he wins, could potentially use his authority as head of the executive branch to try to order a new attorney general to dismiss federal cases. Or he could potentially seek forgiveness for himself, which is a legally unverified proposition.




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