United States: Donald Trump turns to the Supreme Court to benefit from criminal immunity

Former Republican President Donald Trump asked the United States Supreme Court on Monday, February 12, to suspend an appeal decision by a US federal court which had denied him the criminal immunity he invokes

United States: Donald Trump turns to the Supreme Court to benefit from criminal immunity

Former Republican President Donald Trump asked the United States Supreme Court on Monday, February 12, to suspend an appeal decision by a US federal court which had denied him the criminal immunity he invokes. The February 6 decision reopened the way for his trial in Washington on charges of attempting to illegally overturn the results of the 2020 election.

All procedural acts in this criminal case had been suspended due to the appeal, leading Judge Tanya Chutkan, who will preside over the proceedings, to announce the postponement of the trial, initially scheduled for March 4. The appeal decision was to take effect Monday, unless appealed to the Supreme Court, which Donald Trump's lawyers did.

In this appeal, the latter demand the annulment of the appeal decision. They also ask the Supreme Court, pending whether or not it agrees to take up this appeal, to suspend it.

Former President or Citizen Trump

Donald Trump's defense claims "absolute immunity" for his actions committed while in the White House. “Without immunity from criminal prosecution, the presidency as we know it will cease to exist,” the Republican’s lawyers wrote, repeating arguments that have so far failed in federal courts.

“We cannot accept that the presidential office places its former holders above the law forever,” wrote, for their part, the three judges of appeal in their unanimous decision, confirming that pronounced in December at first proceeding by Judge Chutkan.

“For the purposes of this criminal case, former President Trump has become Citizen Trump, with the same protections as any other defendant. But any immunity under the executive power, which could have protected him when he was president in office, no longer protects him against these prosecutions,” these judges clarified.

Go to trial as late as possible

Mr. Trump’s legal team has attributed partisan motives to the prosecution’s push for a speedy trial. “Conducting a months-long criminal trial against President Trump in the midst of an election period will radically disrupt President Trump's ability to campaign against President Biden – which appears to be the goal of the Special Prosecutor's persistent requests for a speedy trial,” they write. the lawyers of the big favorite of the Republican primaries for the presidential election in November.

Courts should not rush to trial because the subject of presidential immunity from criminal charges is “a novel, complex and momentous issue that merits careful appellate consideration,” they add.

The case is one of several criminal charges Mr. Trump faces as he seeks to win back the White House. In Florida, he is accused of illegally storing classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago property, a case set for trial in May. He is also accused in a Georgia state court of trying to overturn that state's 2020 election and, in New York, of paying bribes to pornographic actress Stormy Daniels.

Donald Trump denies any wrongdoing and seeks through his multiple appeals to go to trial as late as possible, at least after the election.