Donald Trump went to the US Supreme Court on Monday as he pressed his claim – rejected by lower courts – that he has full immunity from prosecution for trying to overturn his 2020 election loss because he was in office when he took those actions, according to Reuters.
Donald TrumpPhoto: Matt Rourke/AP/Profimedia
Trump asked the justices to put on hold a decision by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which rejected his request for immunity.
The March 4 start of Trump’s trial in federal court in Washington on four counts of criminal indictment brought by special counsel Jack Smith has been postponed without a new date being set.
Trump’s lawyers have asked the judges to halt the court proceedings until they try to get the case re-examined by all judges on the D.C. Circuit and, if necessary, an appeal to the Supreme Court.
Trump, the first former president to be prosecuted, is the front-runner for the Republican nomination to face Democratic President Joe Biden in the Nov. 5 US election. Biden beat Trump in 2020.
Slowing down the case could work to Trump’s advantage because, if he wins the November election and returns to the White House, he could use his presidential powers to force the prosecution to drop or possibly pardon him for anything federal crimes.
Three of the nine Supreme Court justices were appointed by Trump, cementing a 6-3 conservative majority on America’s highest judicial body.
Smith’s charges in August 2023 came in one of four criminal cases now pending against Trump, including another in a Georgia state court that also involves his efforts to overturn defeat in 2020.
U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is presiding over Smith’s case, rejected Trump’s request for immunity in December, ruling that former presidents “do not enjoy special conditions regarding their federal criminal liability.”
“Whatever immunities a sitting president might enjoy, the United States has only one chief executive at a time,” Chutkan wrote, “and that position does not confer a get-out-of-jail-free pass.” life.”
After Trump appealed, the three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit also rejected Trump’s immunity claim on Feb. 6, prompting him to seek relief from the Supreme Court.
“We cannot accept that the office of president places its former occupants above the law for all time thereafter,” the panel wrote in its decision.