Former President Donald Trump has until Monday to ask the Supreme Court to continue halting court proceedings as he faces charges of conspiring to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Trump is charged with conspiracy and obstruction in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol and efforts to subvert the results of the 2020 presidential election. He has pleaded not guilty and argued that he cannot be prosecuted because the charges stem from his official responsibilities as president.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected that argument last week. In a unanimous ruling, a three-judge panel found that the case can continue.
“For the purpose of this criminal case, former President Trump has become citizen Trump, with all the defenses of any other criminal defendant,” the court’s opinion read. “Any executive immunity that may have protected him while he served as President no longer protects him against this prosecution.”
A Trump campaign spokesperson said in a statement that the former president plans to appeal the decision.
Trump argued his position last week on social media, writing on his Truth Social platform, “If a President does not have Immunity, the Opposing Party, during his/her term in Office, can extort and blackmail the President by saying that, ‘if you don’t give us everything we want, we will Indict you for things you did while in Office,’ even if everything done was totally Legal and Appropriate.
“That would be the end of the Presidency, and our Country, as we know it, and is just one of the many Traps there would be for a President without Presidential Immunity.”
In arguments last month before the appellate court, an attorney representing special counsel Jack Smith’s office argued that a president has never before claimed to have immunity due to his position past the time he spent in office.
“The president has a unique constitutional role, but he is not above the law,” assistant special counsel James Pearce said.
The Supreme Court previously declined to wade into the argument early after Smith asked for the case to be fast-tracked to ensure that Trump gets a fair and speedy trial. Trump’s attorneys had opposed the effort.
In August, the special counsel charged Trump in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021, violence at the U.S. Capitol and attempts to pressure officials into changing the election results. Trump is also facing federal charges in Florida and allegations of racketeering in Georgia.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing, framing the cases as politically motivated ahead of the 2024 presidential election. He has long been the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination.
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