Trump’s presidential immunity claim has been rejected by the DC appeals court

President Trump is pictured at the Lotte New York Palace during the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.

(Associated Press)

Trump’s presidential immunity claim has been rejected by the DC appeals court

Election 2024

Sarah D. Wire

February 6, 2024

A DC appeals panel takes office

Thursday unanimously r

has rejected former President Trump’s claim that he is immune from prosecution on criminal charges he plotted to overturn the 2020 election results.

“For the purposes of this criminal case, former President Trump has become citizen Trump, with all the defenses of any other criminal defendant. But any executive immunity that may have protected him while he was president no longer protects him from this prosecution. the three-judge panel writes their opinion.

An appeal will likely be filed quickly to the Supreme Court, and the opinion says Trump has until February 12 to appeal.

Last month, the Supreme Court denied an emergency appeal by special prosecutor Jack Smith to refer the case to the appeals court.

Now that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has ruled, the Supreme Court could agree to resolve the constitutional issue raised by Trump’s claims, or it could uphold the ruling on appeal, which would amount to a defeat for Trump. The former president has signaled plans to use presidential immunity as a defense in all four of his criminal cases.

What happens next in the immunity case will likely determine whether the trial of Trump’s election interference begins as scheduled on March 4. The files for the trial have been suspended since December and the judge had already indicated that the trial may have to be moved.

Trump is charged with four federal crimes, including conspiring to obstruct the official certification of President Biden’s election victory and trying to defraud Americans of their rightful votes.

Trump’s lawyers say the criminal charges should be dismissed on the grounds that a former president cannot be charged with a crime because of his official actions in the White House.

Trump and his legal team argued that a president cannot make necessary decisions for the country if they worry about possible criminal charges if they leave office.

“Any mistake, even if well-intentioned, would be met with almost certain indictment by the opposing party at the end of the term,” Trump said in an all-caps Truth Social post on Jan. 20. total immunity, otherwise it will take years of trauma to tell right from wrong.”

His lawyers told the court that impeachment is the appropriate form of punishment.

Trump was impeached twice by the House of Representatives, including for his alleged efforts to remain in office. But he was not convicted by the Senate.

Smith, who is prosecuting Trump, argued that criminal charges can be brought once a president leaves office, especially for actions unrelated to his official duties. That, Smith says, includes Trump’s efforts to overturn the election results.

The special says it would be dangerous for the court to rule that a defense attorney or former president has complete immunity from criminal prosecution.

The three-member DC panel included Judge Karen Henderson, an appointee of President George HW Bush, and Judges J. Michelle Childs and Florence Pan, both Biden appointees.

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