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Appeals Court Decision: Donald Trump Has No Immunity for Battle Against Election Outcome

The former US President Donald Trump can, in the view of an appeals court, be criminally prosecuted for his actions in office.

Ruling Made: Trump Lacks Immunity

With its decision on Tuesday, the court rejected a request from Trump. However, the final resolution of the issue is likely to be determined by the country’s Supreme Court.

In justifying the appeals court’s decision, it stated that the court carefully weighed Trump’s asserted interests in immunity “against the important public interests that speak for continuing this prosecution.”

This marks a severe legal defeat for Trump. This outcome was anticipated – during a hearing, the appeals court had already shown skepticism and indicated that it was not inclined to follow the argumentation put forth by Trump’s attorneys. It is expected that the Republican will file an appeal and involve the Supreme Court.

Trump Judgment: Attorneys Seek Dismissal of Charges

The verdict will determine whether the trial for attempted election fraud against Trump in the US capital can proceed. The presiding judge had indefinitely postponed the start of the trial until the question of immunity is definitively resolved. The 77-year-old intends to return to the White House for the Republicans after the 2024 presidential election and consistently refers to the investigations against him as a “political witch hunt.”

Trump is charged in the US capital, Washington, in connection with attempted election fraud. His attorneys seek the dismissal of the charge, citing Trump’s immunity during his former office as President.

On January 6, 2021, Trump’s supporters stormed the parliamentary seat in Washington. The Congress had convened to formally confirm the victory of Democrat Joe Biden in the presidential election. Prior to this, Trump had incited his supporters in a speech. Five people lost their lives due to the riots at that time.

Irrespective of the appeals court’s decision, the question of whether the presidency shields one from prosecution is likely to end up before the Supreme Court. After all, it is of national importance. On one hand, the charges against Trump for attempted election fraud hinge on it. Furthermore, it is crucial for the election campaign whether Trump prevails or not. So far, everything points to a rerun of the race between him and the Democratic incumbent Biden. Ultimately, the decision about immunity from prosecution holds immense significance for future presidents. Should they indeed enjoy immunity, they could commit offenses in office without fearing consequences.

In the immunity question, Trump’s attorneys argued, however, that the Republican cannot be legally held accountable for acts that were part of his duties as President. Furthermore, Trump’s lawyers stated in court that it is only possible to criminally prosecute a president if the latter has been convicted in an impeachment trial. This is not the case with Trump. Therefore, they requested the dismissal of the lawsuit and the termination of the proceedings.

The prosecution rejected this, citing, among other reasons, that overturning an election result does not fall under a president’s duties. It was also noted that unlimited criminal immunity for a President would open the floodgates to criminal acts of any kind. The prosecution was already vindicated in the first instance.

The appeals court has now affirmed this decision. It stated that it had concluded that, due to the concerns of public order, “especially in light of our history and the structure of our government,” a rejection of the immunity request was necessary. Trump’s assertion that he should be categorically protected from any prosecution for all official acts during his tenure was not supported by history or the text or structure of the constitution.

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