The Supreme Court will decide Trump's immunity claim in the election interference case

The Supreme Court will decide Trump's immunity claim in the election interference case

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court agreed Wednesday to decide whether former President Donald Trump can be immune from the presidency over criminal election interference charges, a new hurdle to a trial.

In a brief order, the court said it would hear arguments and issue a ruling on immunity. Meanwhile, the case is pending, which means the trial will not take place.

The order said the case could take months to resolve and the court would hear it during the week of April 22. That deadline puts a ruling before the end of the court's regular term in June, which is faster than usual when the court hears. Arguments, but not as fast as the lawyers would have liked.

“The extent to which a former president enjoys presidential immunity from criminal prosecution for conduct allegedly engaged in official acts during his term of office is a legal question for the court to determine,” the order said.

Even if Trump loses, the trial won't take place until election time, raising questions about whether it could happen before Election Day in November. If Trump wins his appeal in court, the charges will be dismissed.

In a Truth Community post after Wednesday's Supreme Court announcement, Trump reiterated his argument that without immunity “a president cannot properly act or make decisions in the best interest of the United States.”

“Presidents are always worried about wrongdoing and retaliation after they leave office and are paralyzed,” he added.

Republican presidential nominee former President Donald Trump speaks at the National Rifle Association's Presidential Forum on February 9, 2024 in Harrisburg. Matt Rourke / AP File

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled against Trump on February 6, but gave him time to file an emergency motion with the Supreme Court that would block the decision from being implemented.

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“For purposes of this criminal case, former President Trump is a citizen of Trump with all the protections of any other criminal defendant,” the appeals court ruling said.

That court did not directly decide whether Trump engaged in official acts while contesting the election results.

Trump's lawyers have pointed to a 1982 Supreme Court ruling that exempted the president from civil lawsuits when it involved conduct based on activities “outside the perimeter” of the president's official responsibilities.

They argue that presidents should be fully exempt from official activities as president and that his actions in questioning election results are part of his official duties.

Lawyers have agreed that the former president can be sued for conduct unrelated to official activities.

In a separate case involving civil claims against Trump for his role, a different panel of judges from the same appeals court rejected his immunity request on January 6, ruling that the former president was not acting in an official capacity because he was acting in his capacity. As a candidate for the position. Trump has ruled out appealing the case to the Supreme Court.

Washington-based U.S. District Judge Tanya Sudken had originally planned to hold the hearing in March. It is one of four criminal cases Trump is contesting.

If Trump wins the election, he would be in a position to order the dismissal of charges in the Washington case. If already convicted at that stage, he may seek to excuse himself.

If allowed to proceed, Trump's attorneys wrote in a Supreme Court filing that “such cases would become repetitive and increasingly common, leading to destructive cycles of retribution.”

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Jack Smith, the special prosecutor prosecuting the case, said in his own court papers that it was important to resolve the issue quickly.

“Delay in resolving these charges threatens to frustrate the public interest in speedy and fair adjudication — a compelling interest in every criminal case and one of unique national importance here,” he wrote.

The Supreme Court has a 6-3 conservative majority, with three Trump appointees. Despite the court's ideological makeup, Trump has lost several recent cases.

On Feb. 8, the judges heard The arguments in a separate case related to Trump in the former president's bid to avoid being kicked out of the polls in Colorado. The court is likely to rule in his favor in that case.

Trump's immunity claim was prompted by a four-count indictment in Washington that includes conspiracy to defraud the United States and conspiracy to obstruct official action. He is innocent.

In December, Sutgen rejected Trump's request to dismiss the impeachment on presidential immunity and other constitutional grounds.


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