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Latest on Trump’s secret documents


The Supreme Court’s ruling on presidential immunity is the latest blow to the classified documents case against Donald Trump, which is unlikely to be heard before the November election.

FORT PIERCE — A federal judge overseeing Donald Trump’s secret documents case agreed Saturday to stay some pretrial dates in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on presidential immunity.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon gives prosecutors and Trump’s lawyers more time to explore how the high court’s ruling will affect the charges, the latest in a series of delays that have made a trial unlikely before the presidential election in November.

Her ruling came in response to a request filed Friday by Trump’s lawyers, who asked for permission to file additional documents to support their argument that Trump has absolute immunity for his actions, citing a Supreme Court decision that grants broad protections to the president’s “official acts.”

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In addition to asking for more legal information, the attorneys asked Cannon to temporarily stay the proceedings. They recommended that the case be resumed only after Cannon rules on whether Trump’s conduct — which prosecutors say included hoarding boxes of secret documents and making it difficult for the government to retrieve them — qualifies as official actions.

In her brief response Saturday, Cannon did not schedule a hearing to discuss the immunity issue. Instead, she gave Special Counsel Jack Smith until July 18 to respond to Trump’s request for a broad delay and Trump’s team until July 21 to respond to prosecutors.

In the meantime, she has postponed two upcoming deadlines: one on the defense’s obligation to provide the government with information required for disclosure and the other on which expert witnesses will testify at trial.

Judge Cannon denies Trump’s co-defendant’s motion to dismiss charges

On Saturday, the judge also denied a motion by Trump’s co-defendant, Waltine Nauta, to dismiss the charges against him, ruling that Nauta was not the victim of a vindictive prosecution. His lawyers argued that Smith only prosecuted Nauta because he refused to cooperate with federal investigators.

In Smith’s response, which Cannon cited in her order, the prosecutor maintained that Nauta was charged because he conspired with Trump and Carlos De Oliveira, the property manager at his Palm Beach home, to hide boxes of classified documents.

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Trump faces dozens of criminal charges, including willfully withholding national defense information and conspiring to obstruct justice. Nauta and De Oliveira are accused of trying to delete surveillance video and making false statements to prosecutors. They have all denied wrongdoing and have filed several motions to dismiss the charges against them.

While no one convinced Cannon to drop the case, everyone contributed to its delay.

Cannon has not suggested a potential trial date since she adjourned it in May. Prosecutors have suggested it could start this month, while Trump’s lawyers have argued it shouldn’t start until August. The Republican National Convention, where the party will formally nominate Trump, is scheduled for next week in Milwaukee.

Hannah Phillips is a public safety and justice reporter for The Palm Beach Post. You can reach her at [email protected].