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CNN’s Elie Honig Says Jack Smith’s Trump Case Will ‘Get Torn To Shreds’ After Immunity Ruling

CNN senior legal analyst Ellie Honig said Tuesday that there may not be enough evidence to try former President Donald Trump's election interference case after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of presidential immunity on Monday.

In its ruling on President Trump's immunity appeal, the Supreme Court dismissed Special Counsel Jack Smith's case, finding that a president can be immune from criminal prosecution for “official duties” performed while in office. CNN News Central's Honig said the ruling's prohibition on introducing evidence of “official duties” means Smith's prosecution of Trump is “shattered.” (Related story: Left-wing district attorney, Biden Justice Department alum secures Trump conviction in Biden donor blue district court)


“I wasn't surprised when the Supreme Court said, 'Prosecutor, you can't prosecute someone for official conduct,'” Honig said. “What surprised me, and I'm sure you're surprised, is that the Supreme Court said, 'You can't even present evidence of official conduct as part of your trial presentation.' So when you go to trial as a prosecutor, a lot of the evidence is not in itself criminal, but it's necessary to tell a story. You need to explain the story, the context.”

“And now, for example, in the January 6th case, it appears Jack Smith can't even inform the jury about Donald Trump's interactions with the Department of Justice, which are a key part of the whole case,” he continued. “So the indictment will be torn to shreds by the time the court is done with it. We'll see if Jack Smith has enough evidence left to take this case to trial. And by the way, this case, or the rest of it, can't go to trial before the election. That much is clear.”

Smith's indictment charges Trump with four felony counts related to alleged attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is presiding over the case, rejected Trump's attempt to dismiss the lawsuit in December and initially scheduled the trial for March.

“This case will not be before the election. It will not be heard before the election. And here's why,” Honig said Monday. “The Supreme Court just announced that there is something called criminal immunity. The test, as we expected, is basically official acts vs. unofficial acts. We're remanding this back to the district court. And this is an important detail. The court has said time and time again that whatever the district court rules, it can be appealed before trial.”

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