Trump is not immune from prosecution for bid to subvert the 2020 election, appeals court rules
The unanimous 57-page decision is a major win for special counsel Jack Smith.
Former President Donald Trump — and indeed any other former president — may be prosecuted for alleged crimes they committed while in office, a federal appeals court panel ruled Tuesday.
The unanimous 57-page decision from a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals is a major win for special counsel Jack Smith, who is seeking to put Trump on trial this year on federal felony charges stemming from his efforts to overthrow the 2020 election. But the ruling is likely to trigger further appeals from Trump, who can ask the Supreme Court to weigh in.
“For the purpose of this criminal case, former President Trump has become citizen Trump, with all of the defenses of any other criminal defendant,” the D.C. Circuit judges wrote. “But any executive immunity that may have protected him while he served as President no longer protects him against this prosecution.”
The ruling affirms U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan’s historic conclusion that former presidents may be prosecuted for crimes they committed in office, even if those alleged crimes are arguably related to their official duties as president. Trump had argued that former presidents could not be prosecuted for such actions without first being impeached and convicted by Congress.
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