Washington — Former President Donald Trump asked the Supreme Court to stay a lower court’s ruling thatcriminal prosecution in federal case related to 2020 election.
In a 39-page filing released Monday, Trump’s lawyers asked the justices to implement a “stay” of the ruling by a three-judge panel of the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals. The panel said it would delay implementing its ruling until Feb. 12 to give Trump time to turn to the high court.
Five judges needed to approve Trump’s emergency aid request. Trump’s lawyers said the stay was necessary to give them time to seek further review of the decision, either before the full Washington Circuit or the Supreme Court itself. The filing indicates that they will eventually ask the High Court to settle the matter once and for all.
Trump’s filing says the panel’s decision represents “a blatant violation of historical precedent and norms.”
“Without immunity from criminal prosecution, the presidency as we know it will cease to exist,” they wrote.
The decision of the court of appeal
The three appeals court judges – Karen LeCraft Henderson, Michelle Childs and Florence Pan – ruled last week that Trump was not immune from prosecution in the criminal case brought against him by the special counsel Jack Smith. The justices rejected the former president’s argument that he should be shielded from charges because the conduct alleged in the federal indictment occurred while he was in office.
“For purposes of this criminal case, former President Trump became a Trump citizen, with all the defenses of any other criminal defendant,” the panel wrote in its opinion. “But any executive immunity that might have protected him while he was president no longer protects him from these prosecutions.”
The justices wrote that they “cannot accept former President Trump’s assertion that a president has unlimited power to commit crimes that would neutralize the most fundamental check on executive power: recognition and implementation of election results.
Adopting Trump’s argument, they continued, would mean “that the executive branch has carte blanche to violate the rights of individual citizens to vote and have their votes count.”
The appeals court said its decision would take effect on February 12 unless Trump requests emergency relief from the Supreme Court, or if the full appeals court agrees to hear the case after the date limit.
Last year, a federal grand jury indicted Trump on four counts stemming from an alleged attempt to illegally overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges and has denied any wrongdoing.
The former president first raised his claim for presidential immunity in October, when he asked U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is overseeing the criminal case in Washington, to dismiss the charges. Chutkan denied the request, and Trump later appealed the decision to the D.C. Circuit.
The trial schedule in the Chutkan court has since been suspended. Earlier this month, shetrial date of March 4 until the issue of immunity is resolved.
Smith last month asked the Supreme Court to override the appeal court and decide the immunity issue once and for all, but the High Court refused to fast-track the case and instead left the process to call continue.
The Supreme Court has never decided whether former presidents are entitled to criminal immunity for conduct that occurred while they were in the White House. Trump is the first former president in the country’s history to be indicted.
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