Supreme Court will decide if Trump can be prosecuted on election interference charges

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday said it will take up the immunity appeal of former President Donald Trump.

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The justices said they would hear arguments during the week of April 22, with a decision likely no later than the end of June, according to The Associated Press.

That will further delay Trump’s trial in Washington, D.C., where he has been charged with conspiring to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election to remain in power, The New York Times reported.

The justices will review a unanimous ruling from a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that rejected the former president’s assertion of immunity, The Washington Post reported.

The former president is claiming that he is shielded from prosecution for actions while taken in office, according to the newspaper.

In an unsigned statement obtained by the AP and the Times, the court said that it will consider “whether and if so to what extent does a former President enjoy presidential immunity from criminal prosecution for conduct alleged to involve official acts during his tenure in office.”

Earlier this month, the nation’s highest court heard arguments in a separate case, questioning if Trump had disqualified himself from running for re-election under the 14th Amendment’s “insurrection ban” clause, CNN reported.

In his filing to the Supreme Court, Trump had argued that “An absence of criminal immunity for official acts threatens the very ability of the president to function properly,” the Times reported.

“Any decision by the president on a politically controversial question would face the threat of indictment by the opposing party after a change in administrations.”

Trump’s attorneys also argued that conducting a trial of the front-runner for the Republican nomination in the middle of a presidential campaign would “radically disrupt President Trump’s ability to campaign against President (Joe) Biden -- which appears to be the whole point of the special counsel’s persistent demands for expedition.”

“The D.C. Circuit’s order thus threatens immediate irreparable injury to the First Amendment interests of President Trump and tens of millions of American voters, who are entitled to hear President Trump’s campaign message as they decide how to cast their ballots in November.”

Jack Smith, the special counsel in the D.C. election interference case, countered by stating that Trump’s actions were an attempt to subvert democracy.

If the former president’s “radical claim were accepted,” Smith wrote, “it would upend understandings about presidential accountability that have prevailed throughout history while undermining democracy and the rule of law -- particularly where, as here, a former president is alleged to have committed crimes to remain in office despite losing an election, thereby seeking to subvert constitutional procedures for transferring power and to disenfranchise millions of voters.”

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