Tue. Jul 23rd, 2024

Supreme Court’s immunity ruling will delay Trump’s Jan. 6 case until after the election

By 37ci3 Jul2,2024

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court presidential immunity decision will further delay former President Donald Trump’s Washington Criminal it is related to him efforts to stop the transfer of power leading up to Attack on the US Capitol on January 6It virtually guarantees that Trump’s trial will not begin before election day.

Instead, the high court’s decision sets the stage for a hearing before a US District Judge Tanya Chutkan which allegations in special prosecutor Jack Smith’s indictment should be considered official acts and therefore potentially immune from prosecution. His final rulings could later be appealed, meaning a Trump trial is unlikely until 2025. If Trump wins in November, the trial is unlikely to take place.

The conservative majority won 6-3 feedback That Trump is entitled to absolute immunity for major presidential functions and that “at least a probable immunity from criminal prosecution for acts “within the outer perimeter of his official responsibility.”

The court’s three liberal justices said the conservative majority’s decision “will have disastrous results“For the US.

The majority decision said Chutkan should decide whether to support the indictment after eliminating allegations that Trump could not be indicted, such as his ties to the Justice Department. In addition, the majority stated that lower courts “may not inquire into the President’s motives” when distinguishing between official and unofficial conduct.

Smith’s team will likely dispute that All the charges against Trump it can stop even with the removal of allegations that the Ministry of Justice used its powers to overcome the election loss.

Regardless of that outcome, the Supreme Court’s ruling on Monday effectively guarantees that Trump will not face criminal charges for trying to stop the transfer of power before the November presidential election, on or before Congress ratifies the result of that election on January 6, 2025. Until the inauguration of the next president on January 20, 2025. USA vs. Trump Trump has been on trial in federal court in Washington for 11 months since his indictment on August 1, 2023. originally It was due to go to trial last March, and the jury almost certainly would have returned a verdict by now if the Trump case had proceeded on Chutka’s original schedule. Instead, the case was put on hold as it made its way through the federal appeals court process and the Supreme Court.

But Chutkan could quickly schedule briefings and hearings in the case, which would allow for evidentiary hearings that could shed more light on what Vice President Mike Pence and Trump appointees have said about their efforts to stay in power after their defeat by bolstering allegations of fraudulent fraud. Election of President Joe Biden in 2020.

“At the very least, this is a way for the public to hear additional evidence from former Vice President Pence, former senior advisers who worked in the White House under President Trump, and White House counsel,” said Andrew Weissmann, a former federal prosecutor. On Monday, he worked on Robert Mueller’s special counsel’s investigation and MSNBC’s legal analyst.

“Allegations that the Justice Department is off the table, that the president or former president is totally immune, that’s a really scary idea,” Weissmann said Monday. “Think about it: The president’s interactions with the Justice Department are completely untouchable? Terrible decision.”

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion that it “can be difficult” to separate the president’s official actions from his unofficial ones, saying the analysis “is best left to the lower courts to perform in the first instance.” Here’s a breakdown of the guidance the court’s conservative majority offered for Chutka’s review.

Trump is “completely” immune from prosecution for his dealings with the DOJ

While the conservative majority sought to overturn the results of the 2020 election and pushed for formal investigations into Trump’s unsubstantiated allegations of widespread voter fraud, his interactions with Justice Department officials, which the indictment alleges, Trump used to prosecute ” decided that he was completely” untouchable. his official power is for his own personal interests and not for the country.

“Certain allegations – such as Trump’s discussions with the Acting Attorney General – are easily classified in terms of the nature of the President’s official relationship with that person,” the conservative majority believes.

“Allegations that the investigations required in the indictment are fraudulent or that they are offered for an improper purpose do not deprive the President of the exclusive authority of the Department of Justice and its officials over investigative and prosecutorial functions,” the majority ruled. “Because the president cannot be prosecuted for conduct within his exclusive constitutional authority, Trump is completely immune from prosecution for alleged conduct related to his discussions with Justice Department officials.”

Trump’s interactions with Pence, state officials and private parties raise “difficult questions.”

The Supreme Court said that Trump’s interactions with Pence, Trump’s pressure campaign on government officials, his communications with private parties and public comments “present more difficult questions” when it comes to immunity. For the most part, the conservative majority followed its own guidance, leaving those questions to the lower courts to answer.

“While we identify several considerations for classifying those claims and determining whether they are subject to immunity, that analysis is best left to the lower courts to perform in the first instance,” Roberts said.

Well, what about Pence’s pressure campaign in particular?

According to Smith’s accusation, Trump tried to “use his ceremonial role in the January 6 certification process to use Pence to rig the election results.” The court said discussions between Pence and Trump on official duties were “official conduct,” including discussions of the certification process on Jan. 6, so Trump would enjoy a presumption of immunity under their ruling.

Roberts said the burden would fall on Smith’s team to “rebut the presumption of immunity” for the majority. “Therefore, we ask the trial court to consider, with the appropriate opinion of the parties, whether the allegation of Trump’s attempts to influence the vice president’s oversight of the certification process as president of the Senate could lead to any conclusion. Dangers of interfering with the powers and functions of the Executive Power.”

And Trump’s communication with government officials?

Let Trump try Officials in Georgia The court called for a “close analysis” of the indictment that other states organized official acts to overturn the election results in his favor.

“Unlike Trump’s alleged interactions with the Department of Justice, this alleged conduct cannot be neatly categorized as attributable to the function of a particular President. Instead, the proper analysis is fact-specific and requires an evaluation of numerous alleged interactions with various government officials and private individuals.” .” Roberts wrote for the majority.

Roberts noted that the government and Trump’s legal team “sharply disagree on the characterization of these claims,” ​​as demonstrated during oral arguments, and additional arguments should be played out in Chutkan’s court.

“The concerns we noted earlier—the lack of scrutiny of this case, the lower courts’ lack of factual analysis, and the parties’ failure to provide adequate briefing—are thus all the more apparent. Accordingly, we remand to the district court to address the issue. First instance—what we lack with the benefit of briefing — regardless of whether Trump’s conduct in this area is official or unofficial,” they ruled.

And Trump’s tweets?

Trump is spreading lie about election via tweets and public addresses “may comfortably fall within the outer perimeter of his official duties,” the majority ruled, though “there may be contexts in which the President speaks informally—perhaps as a candidate for office or as a party leader.”

The majority said that Chutka “must first determine whether this alleged conduct was official or informal,” indicating that Chutka’s initial rulings are subject to further review.

“The district court on remand must carefully analyze the remaining allegations of the indictment to determine whether they also involve conduct for which the president is immune from prosecution,” the majority ruled. “And the parties and the District Court must establish sufficient allegations to support the charges of the indictment without such conduct. Statements or personal records of the president or his counsel investigating such conduct shall not be admitted into evidence in court.”

What about Trump’s actions on January 6?

While the president has the power to chair violence and is free to speak “forcibly or critically in ways the President believes will advance the public interest,” there may be contexts in which he speaks informally, the majority ruled. Drawing the line here, the court said, “can be difficult” and requires a fact-specific analysis.

Trump’s tweets before and on Jan. 6, 2021, his speech that morning calling for supporters to march on the Capitol, and “other communications he made on Jan. 6 involve official behavior, each of which may depend on their content and context.” the court decided. “For example, knowing what else was said at the same time as the extracted communication, or who was involved in the transmission of the electronic communication and the organization of the rally, may be relevant to the classification of each news item.”

“This absolute fact-based analysis is best performed initially by the District Court,” the majority continued. “We therefore remand to the trial court to determine whether this alleged conduct was formal or informal.”

Jack Smith’s team can still rely on public evidence in court

The Supreme Court has ruled that if a particular allegation in an indictment is determined to be an “official act,” prosecutors may not introduce “the president’s testimony or personal records investigating the official act itself.”

However, the court left room for prosecutors to show jurors evidence of official acts, as long as that evidence can be found in the public record.

“A prosecutor can point to the public record to show that the president has performed an official act,” Roberts wrote. “And the prosecutor may admit evidence that the President has requested, accepted, accepted, or accepted or accepted in exchange for being influenced in the performance of the alleged act.”

So if there is a video of Trump talking to the media or discussing any of the overt acts covered by the indictment, those statements can be introduced into evidence, whether they are official or not. What prosecutors can’t do is appoint someone like a former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows or another presidential adviser on the witness stand and ask them to tell jurors about any official discussions they had with Trump or what his motives might have been for taking any official action.

Overall, the language would give prosecutors a way to show jurors the context in which the alleged unofficial acts were committed, even if Trump cannot be indicted for official conduct.

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By 37ci3

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