According to a report by The Hill on Sunday, December 24, 2023, former President Donald Trump’s legal team has officially petitioned the federal appeals court to dismiss the 2020 election subversion case against him in Washington, D.C.
This move comes following the Supreme Court’s decision to deny special counsel Jack Smith’s plea to review Trump’s claim of presidential immunity.
Trump’s attorneys, in a filing to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on Saturday night, restated their fervent plea for the appeals court to reverse a lower court’s ruling that had previously rejected the former president’s immunity assertion.
This immunity claim, introduced by Trump in October, contends that his actions leading up to and following the tumultuous events of January 6, 2021, including the Capitol attack, are shielded from criminal prosecution by the mantle of presidential immunity.
Federal Judge Tanya Chutkan, however, dealt a blow to Trump’s legal strategy earlier this month when she asserted that “the United States has only one Chief Executive at a time, and that position does not confer a lifelong ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ pass.”
The judge’s remark stresses the central question at the heart of this legal battle: whether a former president can be held criminally accountable for actions taken during their tenure.
At the center of the case are four felony counts accusing Trump of participating in a conspiracy to defraud the United States and orchestrating a campaign to obstruct the certification of votes on January 6, 2021.
These charges, if proven, could have profound implications for the former president, potentially leading to criminal consequences.
In the latest filing, Trump’s legal team doubled down on their argument that his actions constituted official acts aimed at “advocating for and defending the integrity of the federal election, in accordance with his belief that it was tainted by fraud and irregularity.”
They insist that any indictment against Trump is both unlawful and unconstitutional, emphasizing the need for Congress to first impeach and convict him before any criminal prosecution can proceed.
Before any single prosecutor can ask a court to sit in judgment of the President’s conduct, Congress must have approved of it by impeaching and convicting the President,” Trump’s lawyers asserted in their filing.
“That did not happen here, and so President Trump has absolute immunity.”
The oral argument for the appeals case is scheduled for January 9, as indicated by court filings.