The ruling is a major blow to Trump’s key defence thus far in the federal election subversion case brought against him by special counsel Jack Smith….reports Asian Lite News
In a major setback to Donald Trump, a federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday that the former US President is not immune from prosecution in the January 6 election subversion case, CNN reported.
Donald 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 ruling is a major blow to Trump’s key defence thus far in the federal election subversion case brought against him by special counsel Jack Smith.
The former president had 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 three-judge panel who issued the ruling Tuesday includes 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.
However, Trump’s team could appeal the ruling directly to the US Supreme Court, or first ask for ‘en banc review’ at the appeals court, meaning the case would be heard again, but this time by the full DC Circuit.
The court stated that if charges are proven, Trump’s efforts to usurp the 2020 presidential election would be an “unprecedented assault on the structure of our government.”
“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.
Trump has 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 have also asserted 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, writing that being president does not “confer a lifelong ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ pass.” Trump quickly appealed that decision to 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)