WASHINGTON – A federal appeals court on Tuesday rejected Donald Trump’s broad appeal that he should not be prosecuted for alleged criminal acts he committed as president while trying to overturn the 2020 election in the chain of events that led to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. .
Trump will almost immediately appeal to the Supreme Court to prevent the trial from proceeding as planned. The Supreme Court can quickly decide whether to hear a case and fast track any decision. The court gave Trump until February 12 so that the lower court can act again.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that there is no basis for Trump to claim that former presidents have blanket immunity from prosecution for anything they did while president.
“For purposes of this criminal case, former President Trump has become a citizen Trump with all the protections of any other criminal defendant. However, any executive immunity that may have protected him while he served as president no longer protects him from this prosecution.” the judgment he said.
The case is one of four criminal prosecutions Trump is facing, even as he remains the presumptive frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination.
The main issue is whether the trial will take place before the election. Special Counsel Jack Smith had asked the court to move quickly to keep the trial on schedule. The March trial had already been postponed indefinitely pending an appeal.
If Trump wins the election, he could either deny the charges or potentially pardon himself.
Trump’s appeal stemmed from a four-count indictment in Washington, including charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States and conspiracy to obstruct official proceedings. He pleaded not guilty.
U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan in December denied Trump’s request to dismiss the indictment on presidential immunity and other constitutional grounds. The case is suspended while the appeal process continues.
Trump’s attorneys pointed to a 1982 Supreme Court ruling that upheld the president’s immunity from civil lawsuits for actions within the “outer perimeter” of the president’s official responsibilities. They acknowledged that the former president could be prosecuted for actions unrelated to official activities.
Trump also argued that any prosecution was barred because he had not been convicted of the same underlying conduct in the first impeachment trial.
Smith’s team argued that there is no broad immunity that prevents former presidents from being prosecuted for crimes committed in office. Smith said in court documents that an attempt to “use fraudulent means to prevent the transfer of power” should not be considered an official act. He added that there is nothing in the Constitution that says an unsuccessfully impeached president cannot be impeached.