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Trump urges Supreme Court to block ruling he lacks immunity in January 6 criminal case

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Washington, DC | February 13, 2024 6:53:01 AM IST
Former US President Donald Trump urged the Supreme Court to suspend the lower court ruling that he does not have presidential immunity from prosecution, CNN reported on Monday.

According to the report, Trump called on the apex court to temporarily block a scathing and unanimous decision from the DC Circuit handed down last week, flatly rejecting his claims of immunity from election subversion charges brought by special counsel Jack Smith.

"Conducting a months-long criminal trial of President Trump at the height of election season will radically disrupt President Trump's ability to campaign against President Biden," Trump's attorneys wrote in their request.

Earlier this month, a federal appeals court ruled that the former US President is not immune from prosecution in the January 6 election subversion case, CNN reported.

Trump is not immune from prosecution for alleged crimes he committed during his presidency to reverse the 2020 election results, a federal appeals court said on Tuesday.

The former president argued that the conduct special counsel Jack Smith charged him over was "part of his official duties as president and therefore shield him from criminal liability".

"For the purpose of this criminal case, former President Trump has become citizen Trump, with all of the defences of any other criminal defendant. But any executive immunity that may have protected him while he served as President no longer protects him against this prosecution," the court stated.

The ruling from the three-judge panel was unanimous. The panel that issued the ruling comprised two judges--J Michelle Childs and Florence Pan, who were appointed by Joe Biden and one, Karen LeCraft Henderson, who was appointed by George HW Bush, as reported by CNN.

"It would be a striking paradox if the President, who alone is vested with the constitutional duty to 'take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, were the sole officer capable of defying those laws with impunity," the ruling stated.

The judges also rejected Trump's claim that his criminal indictment would have a "chilling effect" on future presidents.

Trump faces four counts from Smith's election subversion charges, including conspiring to defraud the United States and to obstruct an official proceeding. The former president has pleaded not guilty.

The former President, who is running for a second term in the Presidential elections later this year, argued that he was working to "ensure election integrity" as part of his official capacity as president, and therefore he is immune from criminal prosecution for trying to overturn the election results.

His lawyers, too, sserted that because Trump was acquitted by the Senate during impeachment proceedings, he is protected by double jeopardy and cannot be charged by the Justice Department for the same conduct.

The district judge overseeing Trump's criminal case in DC rejected Trump's immunity arguments in December, stating that being a former President does not "confer a lifelong 'get-out-of-jail-free' pass".

Challenging the ruling, Trump promptly moved the DC Circuit, which agreed to expedite its review of the matter, CNN reported.

The appeals court found that Trump is not protected from criminal prosecution under the separation of powers clause. (ANI)

 
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