The court rejected the former president’s claim that he is immune from prosecution on charges he plotted to overturn the 2020 election.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit unanimously rejected former president Donald Trump’s claim of immunity from prosecution on charges he plotted to overturn the 2020 election. Photo: Reuters/Bill Henness
WASHINGTON—Donald Trump isn’t immune from prosecution on charges he plotted to overturn the 2020 election, a federal appeals court unanimously ruled Tuesday, handing the former president an expected defeat that he suggested he would contest at the Supreme Court.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit dismissed Trump’s arguments that his efforts during the final months of his presidency to undo his loss, including by promoting false claims of voter fraud, fell within the ambit of his official duties. That was a crucial tenet of Trump’s defense.
“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 in a 57-page opinion. “But any executive immunity that may have protected him while he served as President no longer protects him against this prosecution.”
The decision came just days after a federal judge indefinitely postponed Trump’s trial, initially set for March 4, and said she would set a new schedule “if and when” the former president’s appeal is resolved. Judge Tanya Chutkan, an Obama appointee, had rebuffed Trump’s immunity claims in early December, ruling that his former office “does not confer a lifelong ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ pass.”
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