As a former US president, Donald Trump is not immune from prosecution and can be tried for conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election, a federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday in a landmark decision.
The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit noted that the claim that Trump is immune from criminal liability for actions he took while in the White House “is not supported by precedent, history, or the text and structure of the Constitution.”
The decision is a major legal setback for Trump, 77, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, who has criticized it as “damaging the country.”
“A President of the United States should have full immunity to act properly and do what needs to be done for the good of our nation,” Trump said in a message on his Truth Social social network.
The former Republican president will appeal the decision “to protect the Presidency and the Constitution,” said his spokesman, Steven Cheung.
“If immunity is not guaranteed to a president, any future ruler who leaves office will immediately be accused by the opposition party,” the spokesman said.
The appeals court put the immunity decision on hold until Monday to give Trump a chance to appeal to the US Supreme Court, which could decide whether to take the case or let the decision stand.
Trump was scheduled to go on trial on March 4 on charges of conspiring to overturn the results of the 2020 election, which was won by Democrat Joe Biden, but the district judge overseeing the case was forced to postpone the start of the trial. to wait for a decision on. immunity, which was issued by the appellate court.
District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who will preside over Trump’s election interference trial, rejected his immunity claim in December, and the three judges who heard his appeal last month were also unconvinced by his arguments.