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Trump asks Supreme Court to extend delay in election interference trial
12 February 2024, 21:54
The former US President has claimed he is immune from prosecution on charges he plotted to overturn his 2020 election loss.
Former US President Donald Trump has asked the Supreme Court to extend the delay in his election interference trial, claiming he is immune from prosecution on charges he plotted to overturn his 2020 election loss.
Mr Trump’s lawyers filed an emergency appeal with the court on Monday, just four days after the justices heard his separate appeal to remain on the presidential ballot despite attempts to kick him off because of his efforts following his election loss in 2020.
The filing keeps on hold what would be a landmark criminal trial of a former president while the nation’s highest court decides what to do.
It met a deadline to ask the justices to intervene that the federal appeals court in Washington set when it rejected Mr Trump’s immunity claims and ruled the trial could proceed.
The Supreme Court’s decision on what to do, and how quickly it acts, could determine whether the Republican presidential primary frontrunner stands trial in the case before November.
There is no timetable for the court to act, but special counsel Jack Smith’s team has strongly pushed for the trial to take place this year.
Mr Trump, meanwhile, has repeatedly sought to delay the case. If he were to defeat President Joe Biden, he could potentially try to use his position as head of the executive branch to order a new attorney general to dismiss the federal cases he faces or even seek a pardon for himself.
The Supreme Court has previously held that presidents are immune from civil liability for official acts, and Mr Trump’s lawyers have for months argued that that protection should be extended to criminal prosecution as well.
An unanimous panel of two judges appointed by President Joe Biden and one by a Republican president previously sharply rejected Mr Trump’s novel claim that former presidents enjoy absolute immunity for actions that fall within their official job duties.
It was the second time since December that judges have held that Mr Trump can be prosecuted for actions undertaken while in the White House and in the run-up to January 6 2021, when a mob of his supporters stormed the US Capitol.
The case in Washington is one of four prosecutions Mr Trump faces as he seeks to reclaim the White House.
He faces federal charges in Florida that he illegally retained classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate, a case that was also brought by Smith and is set for trial in May.
He’s also charged in state court in Georgia with scheming to subvert that state’s 2020 election and in New York in connection with hush money payments made to porn actor Stormy Daniels.
Mr Trump has denied any wrongdoing.