Appeals court denies Trump DC election immunity

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On Tuesday, a federal appeals court reached a majority decision that former President Donald Trump does not have presidential immunity from prosecution on criminal charges relating to his efforts to overturn his loss in the 2020 election.

“We have balanced former President Trump’s asserted interests in executive immunity against the vital public interests that favor allowing this prosecution to proceed,” the three-judge panel concluded in the 57-page order. “Both of these interests favor allowing this prosecution to proceed.”

During the process of upholding a trial judge’s decision regarding the matter, the panel noted, “We conclude that ‘[concerns] of public policy, especially as illuminated by our history and the structure of our government’ compel the rejection of his claim of immunity in this case.”

The verdict that was handed down by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is likely to be challenged by President Trump in a prompt manner before the Supreme Court.

Appeals court denies Trump DC election immunity
Donald Trump, a former US president, addresses the media at 40 Wall Street, one of his buildings, on January 11, 2024, in New York City, following the conclusion of his civil fraud trial. (Image: ABC News)

“both as a categorical defense to federal criminal prosecutions of former Presidents and as applied to this case in particular,” the appeals court stated in its decision that it did not accept any of the three independent arguments that Trump’s attorneys had presented before it regarding immunity.

“For the purposes of this criminal case, former President Trump has become citizen Trump, with all of the defenses that are available to any other criminal defendant,” the panel declared in their written statement.

Following the refusal of Chutkan to drop the charges, the attorneys for Trump took their case to the appeals court, arguing that they were entitled to immunity. The case was put on hold at Chutkan’s court as a result of such motion.

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Smith pleaded with the Supreme Court to take up the case as soon as possible in order to avoid a drawn-out legal struggle that may potentially postpone the trial of Trump. Due to the fact that the high court did not agree to do so, the subject was returned to the jurisdiction of the appeals court.

As a result of the ongoing struggle for immunity, the calendar of the case has already been disrupted. While Chutkan was waiting for the decision of the appeals court, he decided to cancel the trial date that had been scheduled for March 4.

According to Smith, Trump attempted to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory by engaging in a number of criminal schemes. He did this by using the excuse of claiming that there was electoral fraud.

It is said that these include creating slates of fraudulent pro-Trump electors in states that were won by Biden, attempting to utilize the Justice Department to undertake “sham” election criminal investigations, and contesting the tally of genuine electoral votes on January 6, 2021.

The investigation has been referred to by Trump as a “witch hunt,” and he has asserted that it is designed to hurt his campaign for the presidency in 2024.


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