Trump asks Supreme Court to dismiss case accusing him of conspiring to overturn 2020 election

(Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press)

Trump asks Supreme Court to dismiss case accusing him of conspiring to overturn 2020 election

Election 2024


March 19, 2024

Lawyers for Donald Trump urged the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday to dismiss a complaint accusing the former president of conspiring to overturn the outcome of the 2020 election. In doing so, they renewed their arguments that he is immune from prosecution for official actions in the White House.

Lower courts have already rejected the immunity claims twice, but Trump’s lawyers will get another chance to take their case to the Supreme Court when the justices hear arguments on April 25. The Supreme Court’s decision to consider the case has put the criminal case on hold. pending the outcome of the appeal, making it unclear whether special prosecutor Jack Smith will be able to try the ex-president before the November elections.

In a brief filed Tuesday, Trump’s lawyers repeated many of the same arguments that judges have already set aside, arguing that a president cannot function and that the presidency itself cannot maintain its vital independence if the president faces criminal charges for official actions as soon as he leaves. office.

Denying criminal immunity would de facto blackmail and extort any future president while in office, condemning him to years of post-trauma at the hands of political opponents, the lawyers wrote. The threat of future prosecution and imprisonment would become a political cudgel to influence the most sensitive and controversial presidential decisions, removing the power, authority and decisiveness of the presidency.

Smith’s team has said that ex-presidents do not enjoy absolute immunity and that the steps Trump is accused of taking in his failed but frantic bid to cling to power after losing to Democrat Joe Biden do not constitute official presidential acts anyway would apply. .

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is presiding over the case, and a three-judge federal appeals panel in Washington both agreed with Smith, but the case that was once set to go to trial on March 4 has essentially been frozen for months as the appeal continues . wind through the courts.

Trump’s lawyers also told the justices that if they don’t accept his immunity arguments, they should send the case back to Chutkan for additional fact-finding. Such a move would result in even longer delays before a trial could be scheduled.

The case is one of four state and federal criminal charges Trump is facing in his bid to win back the White House. He and his lawyers have tried to prevent the cases from going to trial, a strategy that has so far yielded some success for the ex-president.

Of those four, only one case is planned in New York in the coming months, charging Trump in connection with hush money payments intended to suppress claims of an extramarital sexual encounter. The judge in that case last week postponed the trial until at least mid-April as he seeks answers about a last-minute dump of evidence that the former president’s lawyers said could affect their ability to prepare their defense has hindered.

Tucker writes for the Associated Press.


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