March 2, 2024

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A Federal Judge Rejects Trump’s Claim of Presidential Immunity in Election Interference Charges

A federal judge has dismissed former President Donald Trump’s attempt to dismiss charges of election interference by asserting “presidential immunity.” Trump’s legal team argued that his efforts to challenge the 2020 election results were within the scope of his presidential duties. However, Judge Tanya Chutkan found no legal grounds to shield presidents from criminal charges once they leave office, stating that having been president does not grant a lifelong “get-out-of-jail-free” card.

This landmark ruling establishes that presidents can be prosecuted like any other citizen, marking the first time a US court has confirmed such a precedent. Trump faces four criminal counts, including conspiracy to defraud the US, related to his alleged attempts to overturn the 2020 election. Despite pleading not guilty, this legal setback poses a significant challenge as he prepares for the Washington, DC, trial scheduled for March 2023.

Following the decision, a spokesperson from the Trump campaign asserted that the former president would continue challenging these rulings in higher courts. The trial coincides with Trump’s campaign for the upcoming White House election in 2023.

This ruling is part of a series of legal challenges Trump is currently confronting. Earlier in the week, Judge Chutkan blocked Trump’s attempt to access records related to the congressional investigation into the US Capitol riot in 2021, describing it as a “fishing expedition.” The judge had previously issued a gag order and rejected a request to modify language in the indictment that Trump’s lawyers believed could prejudice a jury.

In addition to the election interference charges, Trump faces other legal battles, including criminal indictments related to classified documents and alleged false accounting involving hush money. A civil fraud trial in his home state of New York involves the Trump Organisation, with prosecutors seeking a $250 million fine and business restrictions on the Trump family.

The latest ruling further complicates Trump’s legal position and underscores the potential legal consequences of his actions during and after his presidency.