Washington, Feb 6, (tca/dpa/GNA) – A US federal appeals court, ruled Tuesday that former president Donald Trump, can face criminal charges, likely setting up a high-stakes Supreme Court appeal over whether he may face trial before the November election.
Tuesday’s unanimous opinion from a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, rejected Trump’s argument that he was immune to charges, stemming from his effort to overturn the 2020 election.
The opinion agreed with a lower court judge, who found that a former president is not immune to all criminal charges for actions taken while in office.
“For the purpose of this criminal case, former President Trump has become citizen Trump, with all of the defenses of any other criminal defendant,” the panel wrote. “But any executive immunity that may have protected him while he served as President no longer protects him against this prosecution.”
In a separate order on Tuesday, the DC Circuit gave Trump until Monday, to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.
Trump had originally been scheduled to face trial, starting on March 4, but District Judge Tanya S Chutkan of the US District Court for the District of Columbia, has officially delayed the trial while Trump’s appeal on this issue is pending.
Trump has made the immunity claims one of his primary defences in the leadup to the trial, and his attorney indicated during oral arguments that he would likely appeal the case to the Supreme Court.
Chutkan rejected Trump’s immunity claims in a ruling last year, as part of the federal case alleging that Trump ,committed crimes as part of a broad-ranging effort to overturn the 2020 election.
The indictment alleges that Trump, tried to stop vote counting in multiple states, arranged for several slates of false electors and ultimately encouraged then-vice president Mike Pence, to throw out the Electoral College votes of states Trump lost on January 6, 2021.
Trump has argued for presidential immunity in multiple cases so far, including federal civil suits seeking damages from the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol and in a Georgia state case alleging that Trump, committed crimes while attempting to overturn his 2020 loss in the state.
Tuesday’s case is one of three surrounding the charges Trump faces in Washington that could end up before the Supreme Court this term. That includes Trump’s challenge to a gag order that limits his ability, to disparage witnesses in the case and a challenge by another defendant of a statute that was also used against Trump.
The Supreme Court already has a calendar with multiple cases involving Trump, abortion and gun rights on its docket.