Trump to attend federal Appeals Court hearing on presidential immunity

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By Carina

Former President Donald Trump has confirmed his attendance at a federal appeals court hearing in Washington, D.C., where the court will consider whether he is immune from criminal prosecution related to his federal election case. 

Trump has asserted that he is entitled to immunity for actions taken during his presidency.

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Legal battle over Trump’s actions post-2020 election

Special counsel Jack Smith has charged Trump with obstruction and conspiracy, alleging that he illegally attempted to overturn the 2020 election. 

Trump’s defense is based on his assertion that he was acting in his capacity as president to investigate election fraud, claiming that this official action grants him immunity from prosecution.

Trump has stated that he was not campaigning after the 2020 election but was fulfilling his obligation to investigate voter fraud while running the country. 

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Biden’s potential vulnerability: Trump’s argument against immunity

He argued that the Department of Justice (DOJ) was weaponized against him by President Joe Biden.

Furthermore, Trump contended that if the appeals court finds he wasn’t immune, then President Biden should not receive immunity either. 

He raised issues such as border security, the Afghanistan withdrawal, and alleged foreign financial involvement to suggest that Biden could be vulnerable to indictment.

Trump’s immunity case moves to D.C. Appeals Court

The case is being heard by a District of Columbia appeals court after District Judge Tanya Chutkan rejected Trump’s immunity claims and refused to dismiss the case in late 2023. 

Earlier, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to fast-track a hearing on presidential immunity, leaving it in the hands of the appeals court.

Judge Chutkan has placed a hold on the election case pending the resolution of the immunity issue, which could potentially affect trial timelines. 

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Trial timing and legal arguments in Trump’s immunity case

The trial was initially scheduled for March 4, close to Super Tuesday for the 2024 presidential primary election.

The federal appeals court will hear the case this Tuesday, but it’s unclear when a decision on Trump’s immunity from prosecution will be reached.

Federal prosecutors under Special Counsel Jack Smith argued that Trump’s claim of absolute immunity from criminal prosecution is unfounded. 

Legal debate over prosecuting former presidents

They contended that a former president could be prosecuted for criminal acts while in office, including illegal actions to stay in power despite losing an election.

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In response, Trump’s legal team argued that his actions were quintessential presidential acts and within his official duties. 

They also claimed that prosecuting a former president for official acts would set a dangerous precedent.

Trump’s legal arguments and sanctions request

Additionally, Trump’s lawyers argued that the appeals court should dismiss the criminal election case based on the lack of a Senate conviction during his second impeachment trial in early 2021, citing potential double jeopardy violations.

Last week, Trump’s attorney, John Lauro, sought sanctions against Smith’s team for attempting to provide evidence during the trial’s pause, asking the judge to hold them in contempt.

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