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Cannon Grants Trump's Request for More Delay

The fallout from the Supreme Court's immunity case has wafted down to Florida, where Donald Trump has been indicted for possessing and hiding secret government documents he had no right to store in his bathroom (or anywhere else). Special Counsel Jack Smith has told Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee, that storing government documents after leaving office cannot be an official presidential act because he wasn't president when he hid them and refused to return them. Nevertheless, Cannon has granted Trump's request to delay the case further so she can study the immunity ruling and decide how it affects the case. For Trump, it doesn't matter how she rules. All that matters is that nothing happens before Nov. 5, 2024.

It may be true that the ruling could affect the case somewhat since Trump did pack the documents into boxes while he still was president and he could (and will) argue that management of classified documents is part of the president's job and thus an official act for which he is immune from prosecution. Smith may have to modify his indictment somewhat, to focus only on Trump's violating laws that state that secret documents must be held in secure facilities and that Trump violated those laws. There is still a case there, but the immunity ruling gives Trump what he wants—more delay. If Smith modifies the indictment to deal only with things Trump did after Jan. 20, 2021, at noon, most other judges would quickly rule that the ruling does not apply, but with Cannon, who appears to be in over her head and also Trump-friendly, taking a few weeks to decide matters might seem legitimate and could be defended later by saying it is her job to make sure all defendants can exercise all of their rights. (V)

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