WASHINGTON (NEWSnet/AP) — Donald Trump urged a Florida judge to dismiss the criminal case charging him with illegally retaining classified documents, claiming in part that presidential immunity protects him from prosecution.

Among a list of motions attacking the federal case brought by special counsel Jack Smith, lawyers for the former president late Thursday echoed arguments that were roundly rejected by a federal appeals court this month in his 2020 election interference case in Washington. Trump has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in that case as the Republican presidential primary front-runner seeks to delay the trial until after the November election.

Trump's lawyers wrote that the classified documents charges turn on his alleged decision to designate the papers as “personal” records under the Presidential Records Act, and argued that he cannot be prosecuted since that was an “official act” made while he was still in the White House.

Washington’s federal appeals court in its decision this month was unsparing in its repudiation of Trump’s novel claim that former presidents enjoy absolute immunity for actions that fall within their official job duties.

But Trump’s lawyers argued that the appeals court's decision was wrong, telling U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon she should not follow the court’s “poorly reasoned decision" in the classified documents case.

In other court filings, Trump’s lawyers argued that Attorney General Merrick Garland’s appointment of special counsel Smith to investigate the former president was “unlawful” and grounds for dismissing the documents case. They also are attacking the law Trump is accused of violating as “unconstitutionally vague” as applied in his case.

The case accuses Trump of illegally hoarding classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate and obstructing government efforts to retrieve them.

A June 2023 indictment charging him with dozens of felony counts alleges investigators found boxes of sensitive documents recklessly stored at Mar-a-Lago in spaces including a ballroom, a bathroom and shower, his bedroom and a storage room.

The case is currently scheduled to go to trial in May, but a pretrial conference set for March will discuss the date and other matters.

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