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Trump's Lawyers Seek Partial Suspension of Fort Pierce Documents Case Until September in Light of the Supreme Court's Immunity Decision

By United States Department of Justice - Public Domain,

Fort Pierce - Monday July 8, 2024: Ex-President Trump’s defense lawyers Friday asked Federal Judge Aileen Cannon to issue a partial stay and suspend a number of proceedings in the Fort Pierce classified documents case until at least September.

In light of the Supreme Court's decision granting Presidents immunity for official acts while they are in office, Trump's lawyers maintain that immunity should extend to the former president's actions in the classified documents case.

However Special Prosecutor Jack Smith points out that Trump is accused of mishandling classified documents after he left the Presidency.

A week ago on Monday, in a 6-3 ruling, the conservative majority on the court granted all Presidents, past and future, absolute immunity when executing their core constitutional powers, and the presumption of immunity when, as President, they perform official acts. However presidents are not immune from federal charges arising from unofficial acts, while they are President.

The Supreme Court did not grant absolute, or the presumption of immunity to former Presidents after they leave office, but they did rule former Presidents should have "broad immunity" from prosecution after their term ends.

The acts alleged in the classified documents case against Trump did not occur while Trump was President.

Special Prosecutor Jack Smith points out that Trump is accused of mishandling classified documents and attempting to obstruct the government from retrieving them after he was out of office. In addition, Smith says the 40 felony counts that Trump is facing in the case are not based on any official, or unofficial acts that Trump took as President.

Judge Cannon has given both sides until July 18 to make their case, before she decides.

Her paperless order posted on the Federal Court's public records website known as PACER states:

PAPERLESS ORDER temporarily granting in part and reserving ruling in part on Defendant Trump's Motion for Supplemental Briefing on Presidential Immunity and a Partial Stay 664 . In order to allow for full briefing on the Motion, and consistent with the Special Counsel's request for the standard response period, the Court stays the following impending deadlines: Defendants' Rule 16 expert disclosures, currently due July 8, 2024; Defendants' reciprocal discovery, currently due July 10, 2024; and Special Counsel's CIPA §§ 5-6 submission, currently due July 10, 2024, although the Special Counsel may proceed with filing should it so elect. On or before July 18, 2024, the Special Counsel shall respond to Defendant Trump's Motion to Stay and Request for Supplemental Briefing on Presidential Immunity. Any reply is due July 21, 2024. The Court reserves ruling on the request for additional briefing pending receipt of the Special Counsel's response and Defendants' reply. No other deadlines are impacted by this Order. Signed by Judge Aileen M. Cannon on 7/6/2024. (jf01) (Entered: 07/06/2024).

Not all motions pending before her court would be suspended if she grants the additional time that Trump's lawyers have asked for. As noted in her order, the Special Prosecutor's request for a partial gag order on Trump "may proceed with filing ." Judge Cannon has yet to rule on that.

Judge Cannon also postponed two other deadlines which are only expected to cause a minor delay. She has not yet set a trial date.