Trump Jumps on Immunity Ruling to Ask Favorite Judge to Gut Secrets Case

Anna Moneymaker/Getty
Anna Moneymaker/Getty

Donald Trump seized on the Supreme Court’s presidential immunity ruling Friday, asking the federal judge he appointed who is overseeing his classified documents case to effectively kill it.

His attorneys applied to Judge Aileen Cannon, asking permission for a hearing on the decision’s impact—a move designed to try to kill Special Counsel Jack Smith’s case.

Attorneys for Trump argued in the Friday motion that the decision “guts the Office’s position that President Trump has ‘no immunity’” and posits that Smith’s role is simply part of a political quest to kill Trump’s re-election bid.

They also pointed to Justice Clarence Thomas’s concurrence that questioned whether Smith’s role was valid, according to CNN.

A sketch of Judge Aileen Cannon.

A sketch of Judge Aileen Cannon.

Lothar Speer

The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that former presidents are afforded “some” immunity for official acts performed while in office, though they did not wade into the distinction between official and unofficial acts. Trump lauded the decision as a “BIG WIN” earlier this week.

Friday’s motion is part of Trump’s quest to delay his pending trials until after the election, which would him the opportunity to pardon himself should he win in November. Trump has consistently derided the cases as political hit jobs, most recently attacking Smith on Thursday as a “Deranged Biden Prosecutor” who is “a Legend in his own mind for all of those cases he has lost.”

The motion came a week after Cannon ruled that she would allow more pre-trial hearings for the indefinitely delayed case, deciding that “further factual development is warranted” about the FBI‘s raid on Mar-a-Lago.

Cannon, who was appointed as a U.S. district judge by Trump in 2020, has repeatedly made rulings seemingly favorable to Trump’s case, drawing backlash from legal experts about whether her position amounts to a conflict of interest. According to a New York Times report last month, multiple Southern District of Florida judges urged her to pass the case to another judge, but Cannon refused.

Trump has also secured a two-week delay to his sentencing in New York for his conviction on 34 felony counts of creating false business records to try to silence porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016. Prosecutor Alvin Bragg agreed to the delay after Trump's attorneys suggested they might argue the SCOTUS ruling could affect his conviction.

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