Jack Smith Urges Supreme Court to Reject Trump’s ‘Unprecedented’ Claim of Criminal Immunity

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By journalsofus.com


Special counsel Jack Smith has urged the US Supreme Court to reject Donald Trump’s “unprecedented” claim that presidential immunity protects him from facing federal charges for trying to overturn the 2020 election.

In a 66-page legal filing Monday, the special counsel’s office wrote that “a fundamental principle of our constitutional order is that no person is above the law, including the president.”

“The Constitution does not grant a president the power to conspire to defraud the United States in the certification of presidential election results, obstruct the procedures for doing so, or deprive voters of the effect of their votes,” the document adds.

The former president was charged with four federal charges in August in connection with his alleged attempt to illegally overturn the 2020 presidential election in his favor. He has pleaded not guilty and claims – without evidence – that the accusation is politically motivated.

In fighting the impeachment, Trump has claimed that presidential immunity protects him from the special counsel’s charges.

After several lower federal courts rejected the claim, Trump asked the Supreme Court to weigh in on the issue in December.

“From 1789 to 2023, no former or current president faced criminal charges for their official acts, and for good reason,” Trump’s lawyers said. argument in a brief to the high court last month.

“The president cannot function, and the presidency itself cannot retain its vital independence, if the president faces criminal prosecution for official acts once he leaves office.”

The Supreme Court is expected to hear full arguments on the question of immunity on April 25.

Special Counsel Jack Smith Urges Supreme Court to Reject Donald Trump’s Immunity Claim (fake images)

The special counsel’s office maintains that while presidential immunity limits the ability of presidents to face criminal prosecution for their official duties, Trump’s 2020 campaign to remain in office even after he knew he lostHe is outside this protection since he was not acting in his capacity as president.

Instead, Smith maintains, the 2020 effort was a “private scheme with private actors to achieve a private end: the petitioner’s effort to remain in power through fraud.”

“The lack of prosecution of former presidents until this case does not reflect the understanding that presidents are immune from criminal liability; instead, it underscores the unprecedented nature of the petitioner’s alleged conduct,” the brief adds elsewhere.

Both Mr. Smith’s and Mr. Trump’s teams Cases cited involving Richard Nixon to make their arguments about the scope of immunity protections.

The special counsel’s office cites the 1974 Supreme Court decision in United States vs. Nixonin which a court unanimously determined that then-President Nixon must comply with a subpoena over the Oval Office tapes.

Meanwhile, Trump’s side points to the 1982s. Nixon v. Fitzgeraldin which a 5-4 court ruled that Nixon had immunity in a lawsuit involving an Air Force analyst who claimed he was fired in retaliation for criticizing the president.

Without such immunities, Trump has argument In their writings, presidents would be vulnerable to “de facto blackmail and extortion while in office.”

So far, lower courts have sided with Smith’s interpretation and found that Trump’s conduct around the 2020 election is not protected by immunity.

“For the purposes of this criminal case, former President Trump has become a Trump citizen, with all the defenses of any other criminal defendant,” a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals held in February in an unsigned decision.

Donald Trump in New York (AFP via Getty Images)

“But any executive immunity that may have protected him while serving as president no longer protects him against this prosecution.”

In December, Federal District Judge Tanya Chutkan ruled similarly, concluding: “Whatever immunities a sitting president may enjoy, the United States has only one chief executive at a time, and that position does not confer a chance of Get out of jail for life. -Free pass.”

A decision of the Supreme Court on the question of immunity could come in june – before the summer judicial recess – although it is not yet clear whether the trial would take place before the 2024 presidential election, in which Trump is the presumptive Republican candidate.

Mr Trump faces another set of federal charges in Florida about his alleged mishandling of classified documents after leaving office.

He also faces state charges in New York for a hush money scheme and RICO charges in Georgia for his efforts to overturn the state’s election.

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