Federal Appeals Court Rejects Trump’s Claim of Immunity from Prosecution

Tue Feb 06 2024
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WASHINGTON: In a major legal blow to former US President Donald Trump, a federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday that Trump is not immune from prosecution as a former president and can be tried on charges related to conspiring to overturn the 2020 election.

The three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit dismissed Trump’s claim of “absolute immunity” from criminal liability for actions taken during his tenure in the White House. The court stated that Trump’s assertion lacked support from precedent, historical context, or the Constitution’s text and structure.

The ruling marks a crucial moment in Trump’s legal battles, as he faces charges of conspiring to overturn the 2020 election results. Trump’s spokesperson, Steven Cheung, announced that Trump intends to appeal the decision, emphasizing the need to protect the presidency and the Constitution.

The appeals court decision temporarily puts the immunity ruling on hold, allowing Trump the opportunity to appeal to the US Supreme Court. The Supreme Court will decide whether to take up the case or uphold the appeals court’s ruling.

Legal Challenges for Donald Trump

Trump had been scheduled to stand trial in Washington on March 4 for charges related to election interference, but the trial’s start was postponed pending the appeals court’s decision on the immunity issue.

District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who will preside over Trump’s trial, had previously rejected Trump’s immunity claim. The appellate court judges echoed this sentiment, asserting that Trump, as a former president, is subject to prosecution like any other citizen.

Special Counsel Jack Smith, leading the prosecution against Trump, has been pushing for the trial to proceed as scheduled. Meanwhile, Trump’s legal team has sought multiple delays, aiming to postpone the trial until after the November presidential election.

Trump also faces election interference charges in Georgia and indictment in Florida for allegedly taking classified documents upon leaving office. Despite being impeached twice during his presidency, Trump was acquitted both times by the Senate.

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