US seeks speedy Supreme Court review of Trump claim he is immune from prosecution

US seeks speedy Supreme Court review of Trump claim he is immune from prosecution

US seeks speedy Supreme Court review of Trump claim he is immune from prosecution By Reuters

Breaking News



Published Dec 11, 2023 12:58PM ET
Updated Dec 11, 2023 03:06PM ET

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Former U.S. President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump rallies with supporters at a “commit to caucus” event at a Whiskey bar in Ankeny, Iowa, U.S. December 2, 2023. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

By Andrew Chung, John Kruzel and Andrew Goudsward

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. special counsel prosecuting Donald Trump on federal charges of trying to overturn his 2020 election defeat asked the Supreme Court on Monday to launch a fast-track review of the former president’s claim he cannot be tried on those charges.

Trump has appealed a decision by U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan on Dec. 1 rejecting his bid to dismiss the case. The judge found no legal support for the position argued by Trump’s lawyers that former presidents cannot face criminal charges for conduct related to their official responsibilities.

It is rare for a prosecutor to ask the Supreme Court to intervene in a case before a lower appeals court has already ruled, but U.S. Special Counsel Jack Smith’s move reflects the urgency ahead of the Nov. 5 election. If reelected, Trump could seek to pardon himself of any federal crimes.

Smith told the Supreme Court in a written filing that the “case presents a fundamental question at the heart of our democracy.”

Trump, the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican nomination to challenge Democratic President Joe Biden, contends that this case and three other criminal prosecutions he faces are politically motivated.

Trump’s appeal suspends his trial, which was scheduled to begin on March 4. “It is of imperative public importance that (Trump’s) claims of immunity be resolved by this court and that (Trump’s) trial proceed as promptly as possible if his claim of immunity is rejected,” Smith said.

Smith said claims by Trump are “profoundly mistaken,” adding that only the Supreme Court “can definitively resolve them.”

Three of the nine justices were appointed by Trump, who cemented a 6-3 conservative majority on the court.


Legal experts have said that Trump’s attorneys could use his immunity appeals to delay the trial, freeing him to campaign.

Prosecutors have accused Trump of attempting to obstruct Congress and defraud the U.S. government through schemes to overturn his loss to Biden in 2020.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to these charges, as well as charges stemming from three other ongoing criminal prosecutions. A Trump lawyer and a campaign spokesperson did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Monday.

Smith asked the justices on Monday to resolve whether a former president is absolutely immune from federal prosecution for conduct undertaken in office, and “the effect, if any, that his acquittal in impeachment proceedings has on this federal prosecution.”

Smith asked the court to fast-track the written submissions required in the case, urging a Dec. 18 deadline for Trump to file a response to his petition.

Chutkan, in rejecting Trump’s immunity claim earlier this month, wrote that attaining the office of U.S. president “does not confer a lifelong ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ pass.”

Chutkan also rebuffed Trump’s argument that his prosecution should be barred under “double jeopardy”, the legal principle that people cannot be charged twice for the same offense. Trump has claimed that his second impeachment – in which he was tried and ultimately acquitted by the Senate for inciting the mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 – was tantamount to a criminal charge for double-jeopardy purposes.

Trump may soon ask the justices to consider a second issue in the election subversion case. Trump on Friday said he would appeal a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit largely upholding a gag order imposed by the trial judge that limits Trump’s statements about witnesses, prosecutors and court staff involved in the case.

The Supreme Court last year rejected Trump’s request to block the release of White House records sought by the Democratic-led congressional panel that was investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by his supporters.

US seeks speedy Supreme Court review of Trump claim he is immune from prosecution

Our Apps

Terms And Conditions
Privacy Policy
Risk Warning
Do not sell my personal information

© 2007-2023 Fusion Media Limited. All Rights Reserved.

Risk Disclosure: Trading in financial instruments and/or cryptocurrencies involves high risks including the risk of losing some, or all, of your investment amount, and may not be suitable for all investors. Prices of cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile and may be affected by external factors such as financial, regulatory or political events. Trading on margin increases the financial risks.Before deciding to trade in financial instrument or cryptocurrencies you should be fully informed of the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite, and seek professional advice where needed.Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. The data and prices on the website are not necessarily provided by any market or exchange, but may be provided by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual price at any given market, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Fusion Media and any provider of the data contained in this website will not accept liability for any loss or damage as a result of your trading, or your reliance on the information contained within this website.It is prohibited to use, store, reproduce, display, modify, transmit or distribute the data contained in this website without the explicit prior written permission of Fusion Media and/or the data provider. All intellectual property rights are reserved by the providers and/or the exchange providing the data contained in this website.Fusion Media may be compensated by the advertisers that appear on the website, based on your interaction with the advertisements or advertisers.