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HomeNewsFederal Appeals Court Rules Trump Does Not Have Presidential Immunity in January...

Federal Appeals Court Rules Trump Does Not Have Presidential Immunity in January 6 Case

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A mugshot of Justice Robert, with Trump case files in set
Source: Slate/X

In a game-changing ruling, on Tuesday, a U.S. Appeals Court ruled that Donald Trump can not waive the consequence of his election crimes. Trump claims he was still President when the alleged infraction was committed, so he has been invoking his presidential immunity as an exoneration from any form of prosecution. 

In fact, in defense of some of Trump’s activities during the 2020 elections, his lawyers have claimed that he was merely discharging his responsibilities as the sitting President of the United States. However, the appeals court ruling upholds the Department of Justice’s indictments against the former President. 

According to court records, the ruling reads, “For the purpose of this criminal case, former President Trump has become citizen Trump, with all of the defenses of any other criminal defendant.” 

In addition, the ruling says, “any executive immunity that may have protected him while he served as President no longer protects him against this prosecution.” 

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ALSO READ: Lawyers Urge Court to Declare Trump Ineligible for Presidency in New Filing

However, Steven Cheung, Trump’s spokesman, has made a statement about the ruling. According to him, Donald Trump does not accept the unanimous decision of the D.C. Circuit of the Court of Appeals, and he will appeal. 

The DC Appeals Court that passed this new ruling had three judges on its panel. Two are Biden’s appointees—Florence Pan and J. Michelle Child, while the third person, Karen LeCraft Henderson, was appointed by George H.W. Bush. 

Despite the ruling, the appeals court has extended Trump a grace of appeal till February. Of course, Cheung has announced that they would be heading to the Supreme Court to appeal and to obtain a stay of proceedings. 

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POLL — Should Donald J. Trump Be Allowed to Run for Office?

If his appeal at the higher court is successful, then Trump would have enough time to prepare his defense at the appellate. However, if eventually found guilty of the charges, his conduct during the 2020 elections will qualify as a never-before-seen effort by a sitting president to undermine the government and breach the U.S. Constitution. 

In the words of the appeal judges, “It would be a striking paradox if the President, who alone is vested with the constitutional duty to ‘take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, was the sole officer capable of defying those laws with impunity.” 

As part of his defense in the ongoing case, Trump suggests that a ruling indicting him will have a ripple effect on future presidents. However, the judges will not have any of that argument. According to them, previous U.S. presidents who committed crimes in office paid in due course without their punishment affecting subsequent leaders. 

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ALSO READ: Legal Experts Condemn Trump’s Appeal of the $83.3 Million E. Jean Carroll Defamation Case

Special counsel Jack Smith’s indictment against Trump consists of four count charges. Part of the accusations against the former President is conspiring to disrupt the smooth transition of power after the 2022 elections. Trump has so far pleaded not guilty to all four charges. 

In another argument, Trump’s lawyers suggest that their client was only trying to preserve the integrity of the election process in the U.S. Likewise since the Senate let Trump off the impeachment noose over the same case, his counsels feel the Department of Justice has no grounds for bringing up the issue again. 

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