Special Counsel Jack Smith asks the Supreme Court to quickly decide whether Trump can be prosecuted

FILE - Special Counsel Jack Smith addresses the media about an indictment against former President Donald Trump, Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2023, at a Justice Department office in Washington.  A federal appeals court will hear arguments Monday, Nov. 20, on whether a gag order against Donald Trump should be reinstated in the federal case accusing him of plotting to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, file)

(J Scott Applewhite/Associated Press)

Special Counsel Jack Smith asks the Supreme Court to quickly decide whether Trump can be prosecuted

MARK SHERMAN and ERIC TUCKER

Dec. 11, 2023

Special counsel Jack Smith asked the Supreme Court on Monday to quickly rule on whether he is a former president

Donald

Trump could face charges that he planned to overturn the 2020 election results.

A federal judge ruled that the case could proceed, but the Republican former president indicated he would ask the federal appeals court in Washington to overturn the outcome.

Smith is trying to bypass the appeals court. The request filed Monday for the Supreme Court to hear the case directly reflects Smith’s desire to keep the trial, currently set for March 4, on schedule and to avoid delays that could delay the case until after next year’s presidential elections.

This case presents a fundamental question that goes to the heart of our democracy: whether a former president is absolutely immune from federal prosecution for crimes committed while in office, or constitutionally protected from federal prosecution when impeached but not convicted before criminal proceedings begin, prosecutors wrote.

The first court to consider the appeal would be January 5, the date of the judges’ next scheduled private conference.

Underscoring the urgency for prosecutors to achieve a speedy resolution that can move the case forward, they wrote: It is of absolute public interest that the defendants’ claims of immunity are resolved by this Court and that the trial of the defendant proceeds as expeditiously as possible. may be continued if his claim for immunity is rejected.

It concerns a Dec. 1 ruling by U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan that rejected arguments by Trump’s lawyers that he was immune from federal prosecution. In her order, she wrote that the president’s office does not grant lifetime release from prison.

Former presidents do not enjoy any special conditions regarding their federal criminal liability, Chutkan wrote. The defendant may be subject to federal investigation, indictment, prosecution, conviction, and punishment for any criminal acts committed while in office.”

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