Donald Trump claims presidential immunity in seeking to dismiss election interference case

todayJanuary 9, 2024 2

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Donald Trump claims presidential immunity in seeking to dismiss election interference case

Donald Trump will go to court today in an effort to block one of his criminal trials.

His lawyers will tell appeal judges that he shouldn’t face prosecution for efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election that culminated in the January 6 assault on the US Capitol.

They argue he should enjoy immunity because he was president at the time of the alleged crimes.

The former commander-in-chief plans to attend the hearing at the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia as he shuttles between legal and political engagements at the start of an election year.

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In a social media post on Monday, Mr Trump wrote: “Of course I was entitled, as President of the United States and Commander in Chief, to Immunity. I wasn’t campaigning, the Election was long over. I was looking for voter fraud.”

The hearing, in Washington DC, relates to one of four criminal trials faced by Mr Trump, spanning 91 charges.

It levels four charges related to election interference: conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction and conspiracy against the right to vote and to have votes counted.

Mr Trump’s bid to have them thrown out has already been dismissed by the presiding judge in the case, Tanya Chutkan, who found that the presidency “does not confer a lifelong ‘get out of jail free’ pass”.

She dismissed his lawyers’ motion that presidents have absolute immunity from prosecution for acts that fall within their official responsibilities, unless they are first impeached and convicted by the US Senate.

She also rejected an argument that the indictment violates Mr Trump’s rights to free speech.

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A trial date in the case has been scheduled for 4 March but that has been put on hold pending the appeal.

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The appeal process, and time spent on it, will push Mr Trump’s criminal calendar further towards the presidential election in November and, possibly, beyond.

On the eve of the Washington hearing, Mr Trump filed a motion in a separate case to have that prosecution thrown out.

His lawyers filed a motion to dismiss racketeering and conspiracy charges in Fulton County, Georgia, invoking a similar argument of immunity for acts conducted while in office.

They contend that his rights to due process were violated because he wasn’t given fair notice that he was acting illegally in pushing claims of a stolen election.

And they argue he has already been impeached on related charges by the US Senate and so could be exposed to double jeopardy.

Prosecutors in Georgia say Trump was acting beyond the scope of his responsibilities as president in pressurising election officials to reject election results.

Written by: Newsroom

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