Former US President Donald Trump is taking legal action against an appeals court decision that he does not enjoy immunity for his actions in office. Trump's lawyers filed a motion with the Supreme Court on Monday to stay the ruling.
The ball is now in the court of the judges of the country's highest court. It depends on their actions whether and when the trial for attempted election fraud against the Republican can begin in Washington. You don't have to accept Trump's request. Trump's move does not come as a surprise - he had previously announced that he would challenge the appeals court's decision and appeal to the Supreme Court.
Trump is indicted in the US capital Washington in connection with attempted election fraud. His supporters stormed the parliament building in Washington on January 6, 2021. Congress met there to formally confirm Democrat Joe Biden's victory in the presidential election. Trump had previously incited his supporters during a speech by claiming that the election victory had been stolen from him. As a result of the riots, five people died.
Shortly after the election, the Republican tried at various levels to subsequently overturn the election results. To this day he does not recognize his defeat against Biden and spreads the lie about election fraud. Trump now wants to run for his party again in the presidential election in November and regularly describes the investigations against him as a "political witch hunt." The aim, he argues, is simply to prevent him from returning to the White House.
Trump and his lawyers want to ensure that charges of attempted election fraud are dropped in Washington. They are citing Trump's immunity in his office as president at the time. They argue that Trump cannot be legally prosecuted for actions that were part of his duties as president. The public prosecutor, however, emphasized that Trump's attempts to overturn the election results were not part of his duties as president. An appeals court in the US capital ruled in favor of the prosecutors last week and ruled that the 77-year-old can be prosecuted for actions in office.
The US Supreme Court could now suspend the appeals court's ruling in order to consider an appeal. Trump's lawyers and the prosecution would then each justify their positions in motions. If the Supreme Court ultimately does not accept Trump's appeal, the way would be clear for the trial against the Republican to begin in Washington. However, if the Supreme Court accepts the appeal, a decision by the Supreme Court on the immunity issue can be expected. If the Supreme Court came to a different conclusion than the appeals court, the election fraud case in Washington would likely be over.
The trial in Washington was actually supposed to begin in early March. The judge in charge had postponed the start of the proceedings indefinitely until the immunity issue was finally clarified.
The question of criminal prosecution of a former president is of far-reaching importance. It has immense importance for future presidents. If they really enjoy immunity, they could commit crimes in office without having to fear consequences. It is also crucial for the election campaign whether Trump is right or not. So far everything points to a new edition of the race between him and the Democratic incumbent Biden.
The Supreme Court has moved far to the right under Trump. The Republican significantly shifted the majority on the court during his term in office. However, in the past, the court did not always rule in favor of the former president.