Former President Donald Trump on Monday asked the Supreme Court to extend the delay in his election interference trial, claiming immunity from prosecution.
Trump’s attorneys filed an emergency appeal, meeting a Monday deadline to ask the Supreme Court justices to intervene in a federal appeals court decision that rejected the former president’s claims of immunity, The Associated Press reported.
Trump is charged with conspiracy and obstruction in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol and efforts to subvert the results of the 2020 presidential election. He has pleaded not guilty and claims that he cannot be prosecuted because the charges stem from his official responsibilities as president.
“Conducting a months-long criminal trial of President Trump at the height of election season will radically disrupt President Trump’s ability to campaign against President (Joe) Biden,” Trump’s attorneys wrote in Monday’s filing, CNN reported.
The attorneys also cautioned the court that if a president can be prosecuted for actions taken while in office, such filings “will recur and become increasingly common,” and lead to “destructive cycles of recrimination,” according to The Washington Post.
“Without immunity from criminal prosecution, the Presidency as we know it will cease to exist,” the attorneys wrote in their filing.
Unless the justices issue a stay while they consider whether to hear his expected appeal, the criminal trial, which has been delayed, will resume, according to The New York Times.
Monday’s filing came after a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit unanimously rejected Trump’s argument that he could not be prosecuted for actions he took while he was president, the Times reported.
“For the purpose of this criminal case, former President Trump has become citizen Trump, with all the defenses of any other criminal defendant,” the appeals court’s opinion read. “Any executive immunity that may have protected him while he served as President no longer protects him against this prosecution.”
In arguments last month before the appellate court, an attorney representing special counsel Jack Smith’s office argued that a president has never claimed to have immunity due to his position past the time he spent in office.
“The president has a unique constitutional role, but he is not above the law,” assistant special counsel James Pearce said.
In August, the special counsel charged the former president in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021, violence at the U.S. Capitol and attempts to pressure officials into changing the election results. Trump is also facing federal charges in Florida and allegations of racketeering in Georgia
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