Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024

Trump opts against Supreme Court appeal on civil immunity claim over Jan. 6 lawsuits

By 37ci3 Feb16,2024

WASHINGTON — Lawsuits seeking personal accountability for Donald Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol may move forward after the former president chose not to take his broad immunity claim to the Supreme Court.

Trump had a deadline of Thursday to file a challenge to the Supreme Court decision of the appellate court rejected his immunity arguments from December, but did not.

The appeals court made clear that Trump could still claim immunity from trial in three cases brought by Capitol police officers and members of Congress.

“President Trump will continue to fight for presidential immunity across the spectrum,” Trump spokesman Steven Cheung said.

The civil charges against Trump are separate from the criminal case that began against him on January 6. Trump on Monday – they asked the judges to terminate this case on grounds of immunity.

Trump’s lawyers argued that any actions he took on Jan. 6 were within the scope of his duties as president, thereby granting him immunity from civil liability. The US Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia District rejected that argument, ruling that Trump was acting as a political candidate running for office, not as president.

But the court added that Trump “must be afforded an opportunity to develop his facts on the immunity issue” to show he was acting within his official authority as the case moves forward in district court. After that, he can ask for the claims to be dismissed again, the court said.

Trump’s legal arguments are similar to those he made in the criminal case, as he seeks to block the trial before the November election.

In rejecting Trump’s criminal immunity claim, a different panel of judges on the same appeals court did not directly address whether Trump’s actions constituted official action. The court instead assumed they were official acts and found that even if they were, Trump could not claim immunity.

The lead plaintiff in the civil immunity case is Capitol Police Officer James Blassingham, who was injured in the Jan. 6 riot. Other plaintiffs in several lawsuits, which have been consolidated on appeal, include other police officers and lawmakers who were at the Capitol that day.

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By 37ci3

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