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Judge Rejects Trump's Presidential Immunity in Washington Election Case

2023-12-02T02:07:59.161Z

Highlights: Judge Rejects Trump's Presidential Immunity in Washington Election Case. The position of president "does not confer a lifetime safe conduct to get out of prison," the resolution states. Trump is charged in this case with four crimes for his election interference to try to steal the 2020 election, which he lost to Joe Biden. The dismissal of that petition has come as no surprise, but Trump's lawyers can now appeal to the appeals court and ultimately the Supreme Court. The judge notes that the First Amendment does not protect speech that is used as an instrument of a crime.


The position of president "does not confer a lifetime safe conduct to get out of prison," the resolution states


Federal Judge Tanya Chutkan on Friday rejected former President Donald Trump's request to shelve the electoral case for which he is indicted in Washington, arguing that he enjoyed absolute immunity due to his status as president because the indictment was based on actions he carried out while in office. Trump is charged in this case with four crimes for his election interference to try to steal the 2020 election, which he lost to Joe Biden.

The dismissal of that petition has come as no surprise, but Trump's lawyers can now appeal to the appeals court and ultimately the Supreme Court. That would allow Trump, at the very least, to drag out the process, so that the trial doesn't begin in early March, as planned. With its delaying strategy, it may even delay until after the presidential elections in November. If Trump were to win that election, he could maneuver to get the Justice Department to drop its indictments.

The 52-page motion filed in October in Washington began by pointing out that the president of the United States is the core of the system of government, the leader of the nation, the head of state and the head of government. "To ensure that the president can exercise his office without hesitation, without fear of his political opponents for decisions they don't like, the law provides absolute immunity 'for acts within the 'outer perimeter' of [the president's] official responsibility," he argued, citing several precedents of the Supreme Court, which could eventually be called upon to decide in this case as well.

"Breaking 234 years of precedent, the Acting Administration has indicted President Trump for acts that sit not only on the 'outer perimeter,' but at the core of his official responsibilities as president. In doing so, the prosecution does not and cannot argue that President Trump's efforts to ensure and advocate for election integrity were outside the scope of his duties," the brief argued.

Judge Chutkan rejects the near-absolute immunity Trump sought to cling to. In its resolution, it states that the position of president "does not confer a lifetime safe conduct to get out of prison."

"Former presidents do not enjoy special conditions regarding their federal criminal responsibility," the order reads. "The defendant may be subject to federal investigation, indictment, prosecution, conviction, and punishment for any criminal act performed while in office."

Chutkan also rejects Trump's claims that the indictment violates the former president's free speech rights, as his defense argued. The judge notes that "it is well established that the First Amendment [enshrining freedom of speech] does not protect speech that is used as an instrument of a crime."

"The defendant is not being prosecuted simply for making false statements, but rather for knowingly making false statements to promote a criminal conspiracy and obstruct the election process," it said.

His ruling comes on the same day that the federal appeals court in Washington has ruled in another case that lawsuits accusing Trump of inciting the Jan. 6, 2021, riot can go forward.

The appeals court has rejected Trump's arguments that presidential immunity absolves him of liability in lawsuits filed by Democratic lawmakers and police officers. But the three justices leave the door open for Trump to allege and prove later, as the cases progress, that his actions were taken in the exercise of his office as president.

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Source: elparis

All news articles on 2023-12-02

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