Fri. May 24th, 2024

How Trump could win at the Supreme Court even if his broad immunity argument is rejected

By 37ci3 Apr21,2024



WASHINGTON – Former President Donald Trump may declare victory in the upcoming election Supreme Court Case on Presidential Immunity even if the judges rejected his most extreme arguments.

At issue in Thursday’s high-profile case is whether criminal charges related to Trump’s attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election should be dismissed under a broad immunity claim.

Even if the court rejects that bold argument, it could send the case to U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan in Washington for further investigation into whether some of Trump’s actions are immune from prosecution.

A ruling in the case, which was originally scheduled to go to trial in March and is already beset by delays, would further jeopardize the chances of any trial being concluded before the November elections.

“Trump’s first preference would be a ruling that he has immunity, but the second preference would be a ruling that there’s some sort of complex factual test for immunity, so it has to go back to court,” said Richard Bernstein, an appellate attorney in a friend-of-the-court brief opposing Trump. former government officials.

In that scenario, he said, “the case would boil down to questions about the extent to which each of the four counts in the indictment were based on official acts by the then-president that could be defended.”

Apart from the fight in Washington ongoing criminal case In New York, Trump’s involvement in a scheme to provide false election certificates to Congress in hopes of overturning Joe Biden’s victory, a series of events that led to a January 6 attack on the US Capitol by Trump supporters.

Prosecutors, led by Special Prosecutor Jack Smith, say the acts constitute a series of crimes. Trump says he was merely voicing concerns, not based on any evidence, that the election was rigged.

The four charges he faces are: conspiracy to defraud the United States, obstruction of official process, conspiracy to obstruct official process and voting rights, and conspiracy to count votes.

Whether obstruction charges can be used to prosecute those involved in the January 6 riot is the subject of another Supreme Court case. argued last week.

Legal issues in the election-meddling case have sometimes played a role in favor of timing, with Trump’s opponents hoping for a trial before the election, believing a guilty verdict could affect Trump’s 2024 general election. facing Biden again.

Some legal commentators say Trump has already won in many ways by persuading the Supreme Court to stay out of the case. at an earlier stage, reduces the likelihood of a pre-election trial even if the immunity claim is expressly rejected. The court too trembled Finally, in deciding how to frame the legal question in accepting Trump’s appeal.

Legal experts say the Supreme Court’s handling of the case so far could indicate it will hold back on a sweeping ruling against Trump, as some have predicted.

According to Randall Eliason, a former federal prosecutor who teaches at George Washington University Law School, the court may think there are some official duties that merit immunity, but leaves it up to the trial court to figure out how that applies to Trump’s case.

“The reason they’re taking the case is because they want to write something more nuanced that acknowledges that there can be immunity in some cases,” he said.

Smith argued in court documents that Trump does not have immunity and that the case should go to trial immediately.

But in it last shortSmith presented his views on what a court should do if it thinks some form of official action immunity exists.

In that scenario, the trial should still proceed, he argued, because the charges in the indictment include “personal conduct” unrelated to Trump’s official duties.

Smith argued that a trial court could consider whether to exclude the evidence if there were concerns about the actions that should have been subject to immunity being used as evidence against Trump.

“A district court may make evidentiary rulings and instruct the appropriate jury for the trial to clarify that petitioner may be held criminally liable only for the personal conduct alleged in the indictment,” Smith wrote.

The prosecution’s theory in the case is that any use of official presidential power was “merely an additional means to a personal end” – staying in office after losing an election.

Among other things, Smith pointed to Trump’s coordination with private lawyers in forming a scheme to submit false alternate election certificates to Congress in hopes that then-Vice President Mike Pence would refuse to certify Biden’s victory.

Smith also argued that at least some of the evidence stemming from official positions could be used in court to show that Trump “knew or stated that the allegations of election fraud were false.”

Trump’s own short calling for the elimination of immunity, in 1982 the Supreme Court’s Nixon v. Fitzgerald requires an extension of its holding that presidents cannot be sued for conduct within the “outer perimeter” of their official duties. This has been a civil case and has never been applied in a criminal context.

The possibility of an arrest is also discussed in Trump’s briefing, with his lawyers suggesting a pre-trial procedure that includes a detailed review of whether his conduct constitutes protected official acts.

They refer to the decision of the appeal court civil suits are allowed Advancing against Trump on his attendance on January 6th. That court rejected Trump’s broad immunity argument, but said he could raise the issue again later in the trial.

Trump can also appeal any negative ruling in the pre-trial process, although depending on how the process works, he may have to wait until after the trial.

Opinions vary on how long additional immunity litigation could add, from days to weeks before a trial begins.

Another lawyer, Matthew Seligman, said: “How long this is delayed is an open question.” submitted a reference supporting prosecutors.

Chutkan, who stayed the case while Trump invoked immunity, previously said the trial could begin three months after the Supreme Court took the case back.

If that decision comes in late June, when the Supreme Court usually rules its most influential cases before the summer recess, it would result in a trial no sooner than late September. The trial can last up to 12 weeks.

A trial before the election is “still theoretically possible” but “the window is closing,” Eliason said.



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