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Appeals Court OK's Trump Election Trial, Rejecting Immunity Claim

A federal appeals panel ruled unanimously Tuesday that Donald Trump can be put on trial for trying to stay in power after losing the 2020 election, rejecting Trump’s claim of presidential immunity and moving the case one step closer to a jury, reports the Washington Post. “For the purpose of this criminal case, former President Trump has become citizen Trump, with all of the defenses of any other criminal defendant. But any executive immunity that may have protected him while he served as President no longer protects him against this prosecution,” the three-judge panel said. “The interest in criminal accountability, held by both the public and the Executive Branch, outweighs the potential risks of chilling Presidential action and permitting vexatious litigation.”


Trump plans to ask the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court to review the ruling -- even rulings against him can further his goal, of delaying any federal trial until after the presidential election. The court put the ruling on hold until Feb. 12 for Trump to appeal to the Supreme Court but would not wait for the full D.C. Circuit to weigh in. The scheduled March 4 trial had been delayed while the appeals court weighed the immunity issue. The Justice Department has long held that a current president cannot be prosecuted. Trump raised a novel claim, that should also hold for former presidents, for actions related to their official duties, unless they were impeached and convicted by Congress first. Having been acquitted by the Senate of inciting the Jan. 6 2021, insurrection, Trump said that to try him in federal court would be double jeopardy.



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