Trump appeals judge's ruling rejecting his claim of immunity in federal election subversion case

  • Canadian Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former President Donald Trump is appealing a ruling that found he is not immune from criminal prosecution over his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, according to court papers filed Thursday.

Lawyers for the 2024 Republican presidential primary frontrunner filed a notice of appeal indicating that they will challenge U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan’s decision rejecting Trump’s bid to derail the case headed to trial in Washington, D.C., in March.

Trump’s lawyers have asserted that he cannot face criminal charges because the actions spelled out in the indictment fell within his duties as president.

But Chutkan said that nothing in the Constitution nor American history justifies cloaking former presidents with immunity from prosecution for actions they took while in office.

“Defendant’s four−year service as Commander in Chief did not bestow on him the divine right of kings to evade the criminal accountability that governs his fellow citizens,” Chutkan, an appointee of President Barak Obama, wrote in her ruling earlier this month.

While the Supreme Court has held that presidents are immune from civil liability for actions within the scope of their their official duties, courts have never before had to grapple with the question of whether that immunity extends to criminal prosecution.

The case charges Trump with conspiring to subvert the will of voters in a desperate bid to cling to power. It is the first of four criminal cases Trump is facing that scheduled to go to trial, though it’s possible the appeal of the immunity issue could delay the case.

Special counsel Jack Smith has separately charged Trump in Florida with illegally hoarding classified documents at his Mar−a−Lago estate after he left the White House. Trump is also charged in Georgia with conspiring to overturn his election loss to Biden. And he faces charges in New York related to hush−money payments made during the 2016 campaign. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Alanna Durkin Richer And Eric Tucker, The Associated Press

Photo: AP