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Trump asks appeals court to toss election case on immunity grounds

The appeal followed the Supreme Court's rejection of expediting the case, where Donald Trump argued for presidential immunity.
Posted at 4:51 PM, Dec 24, 2023

Lawyers for former President Donald Trump have asked a federal appeals court in Washington to dismiss a case that claims there was inference in the 2020 election.

His lawyers say he is immune from prosecution, arguing that former or current presidents can’t be criminally prosecuted for official acts unless impeached and convicted by the Senate.

They also claimed Trump was working to “ensure election integrity” and that the indictment was “unlawful and unconstitutional."

“I think any sweeping argument made to any court, interim appellate Supreme Court, on the part of Donald Trump has to be expected. The sweeping claims of absolute immunity, I think, will ultimately, even with the Supreme Court, not hold. But it's going to take a while to get there. That's the problem,” said Preet Bharara, a former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Trump’s latest legal challenge comes days after the Supreme Court denied special counsel Jack Smith’s request to immediately hear the case and Trump’s argument that his actions are protected from criminal prosecutors under presidential immunity.

The trial, scheduled to begin on March 4, could be delayed.

"This is all part and parcel, it appears, of an extended plot going back way before January 6th and extending right up until the violent insurrection, an attempt to interfere with the central process of democracy, the process of making a peaceful transition to the newly elected president,” said Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law professor at Harvard Law School.

Trump’s appeal also comes amid new reporting from the Detroit News that Trump pressured two Republican canvassers in Michigan not to certify the 2020 presidential election results, citing recordings.

“What happened here in Michigan and elsewhere around the country cannot happen again. We cannot have a single individual try to turn election norms upside on his head to the point of driving people to believe that they hold these high offices and that they somehow can unilaterally stop the people's voices from being heard,” said Wayne County Commissioner Jonathan Kinloch.

Trump, who faces 91 criminal charges across four different cases, is attempting to delay these trials until after the presidential election.

He has pleaded not guilty to felony charges that accuse him of trying to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

Trump first filed a motion to dismiss the indictment back in October, and the appeals court is scheduled to hear oral arguments next month on Jan. 9.

Supreme Court won't expedite a hearing on Trump's immunity argument
The U.S. Supreme Court.

Supreme Court won't expedite a hearing on Trump's immunity argument

The high court did not give a reason for denying the request, which is not uncommon.