Federal prosecutors asked the US Supreme Court on Monday to rule on whether former President Donald Trump's Klan enjoys immunity from being tried on charges of collusion to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
“This case represents a fundamental question at the core of our democracy: whether a former president enjoys absolute immunity from federal prosecution for crimes committed during his term,” Special Prosecutor Jack Smith wrote in the motion to the nation’s highest court.
Smith asked the Supreme Court, which includes a majority of conservatives (6 to 3), to make a decision quickly, allowing the start of Trump’s historic trial sessions, which are scheduled to begin in Washington on March 4, 2024.
The special prosecutor said, “It is of absolute public importance that this court rule on (Trump's) immunity claims and that the defendant's trial begins as soon as possible if his claim of immunity is denied.”
Trump's lawyers have frequently sought to delay the trial until after the November 2024 election, including by asserting that the former president enjoys “absolute immunity” and cannot be prosecuted for actions he took while in the White House.
Judge Tanya Chatkan, who will preside over the trial, rejected Trump's agents' arguments that he enjoys immunity on December 1.
“Whatever immunities a sitting president may enjoy, the United States only has one chief executive at a time, and that position does not grant a lifetime pass to get out of prison free,” she said.
She added, “The defendant's service as commander-in-chief for four years did not give him the right to evade criminal accountability.”
Lawyers for Trump, the most likely candidate to win the Republican Party's presidential nomination in 2024, appealed the judge's ruling.
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