Trump to appeal judge’s rejection of immunity claim in 2020 election case

Dec 7, 2023

By Andrew Goudsward

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Donald Trump indicated on Thursday that he would appeal a U.S. judge’s ruling that the former president does not have immunity in the federal case accusing him of unlawful actions in seeking to overturn his loss in the 2020 U.S. election.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan on Dec. 1 rejected Trump’s bid to dismiss the case, finding no legal support for the position argued by his lawyers that former presidents cannot face criminal charges for conduct related to their official responsibilities.

A federal appeals court, and potentially the U.S. Supreme Court, will now weigh the issue, which could lead to delays in the trial, which is currently scheduled to begin in March. Trump’s lawyers, in a separate legal filing, argued that the entire case should automatically be halted until the appeal is resolved.

Prosecutors have accused Trump of attempting to obstruct Congress and defraud the U.S. government through schemes to overturn his loss to Democrat Joe Biden in 2020.

Special Counsel Jack Smith is prosecuting the case against Trump, the frontrunner for the Republican nomination to challenge Biden in the 2024 election. It is one of four criminal indictments Trump has faced this year. Trump has pleaded not guilty in all four cases.

Smith’s team has argued that Trump’s immunity claims would improperly place U.S. presidents above the law. A spokesperson for Smith declined to comment on Trump’s planned appeal.

A Trump campaign spokesperson said in a statement that Trump “has absolute immunity from prosecution, and litigation, for carrying out his sworn and solemn duties as president.”

Trump has accused prosecutors of attempting to damage his campaign.

(Reporting by Andrew Goudsward and Kanishka Singh; Editing by Will Dunham)

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