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Citing the Supreme Court’s immunity ruling, Trump’s lawyers want to freeze the secret documents case

By ERIC TUCKER – Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump asked a federal judge on Friday to stay proceedings against him in connection with the classified documents, following a Supreme Court ruling this week that former presidents enjoy broad immunity from prosecution.

Trump’s lawyers told U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon that the prosecution must be stayed until she rules on pending defense motions alleging that Trump enjoys immunity from criminal charges in the case and that special counsel Jack Smith was illegally appointed by the Justice Department.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in a 6-3 opinion Monday that presidents enjoy absolute immunity from prosecution when it comes to their core constitutional powers and are presumptively immune for all other official acts. In another concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that Smith’s appointment was invalid because there is “no statute” establishing the office of special counsel.

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Friday’s motion underscores the potentially far-reaching implications of the Supreme Court’s opinion. On Tuesday, sentencing for Trump’s hush-money convictions was delayed until at least September as the judge in the New York case agreed to weigh the opinion’s potential impact.

The ruling came in a separate case in which Smith accuses Trump of attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. But Trump’s lawyers in the Florida documents case, where he is accused of illegally storing top-secret documents from his presidency at his Mar-a-Lago estate, have challenged the charges on the same legal grounds cited in the Supreme Court’s opinion on Monday.

Cannon heard arguments last month about the legality of Smith’s appointment but did not immediately comment. She has not yet commented on the immunity issue.

“Clarification of these fundamental questions is necessary to minimize the negative consequences of this unconstitutional investigation and prosecution for the office of the President,” the defense attorneys wrote, asking for the opportunity to submit further documents.

They said the case should be put on hold – except for a separate and also unresolved dispute over prosecutors’ efforts to prevent Trump from making public comments that could endanger FBI agents involved in the case.

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