Former US President Donald Trump has made headlines once again, this time urging the Supreme Court to suspend a lower court ruling that denied him presidential immunity from prosecution, as reported by CNN on Monday.
According to the report, Trump’s legal team called on the apex court to temporarily block a scathing and unanimous decision from the DC Circuit, which was handed down last week. This decision flatly rejected Trump’s claims of immunity from election subversion charges brought by special counsel Jack Smith.
In their request to the Supreme Court, Trump’s attorneys argued that “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.”
Earlier this month, a federal appeals court had ruled that the former US President is not immune from prosecution in the January 6 election subversion case. The ruling stated that Trump is not immune from prosecution for alleged crimes he committed during his presidency to reverse the 2020 election results.
Trump had argued that the conduct for which he was charged by special counsel Jack Smith was part of his official duties as president and, therefore, shielded him from criminal liability. However, the federal appeals court unanimously rejected this argument, stating that Trump, now a private citizen, no longer enjoys executive immunity.
The three-judge panel that issued the ruling comprised two judges appointed by Joe Biden and one appointed by George HW Bush. They emphasized that it would be paradoxical if the President, tasked with ensuring the faithful execution of laws, could defy those laws with impunity.
Trump faces four counts from Smith’s election subversion charges, including conspiring to defraud the United States and obstructing an official proceeding. Despite pleading not guilty, Trump’s lawyers have also argued that he is protected by double jeopardy due to his acquittal in the Senate impeachment proceedings.
The district judge overseeing Trump’s criminal case in DC had previously rejected his immunity arguments, stating that being a former President does not grant him a “lifelong ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ pass.” Trump promptly appealed this decision to the DC Circuit, which expedited its review of the matter.
Ultimately, the appeals court affirmed that Trump is not shielded from criminal prosecution under the separation of powers clause, dealing a blow to his legal defense strategy. As the legal battle unfolds, all eyes are on the Supreme Court to see whether it will intervene in this high-profile case.