Donald Trump: Supreme Court accepts appeal on immunity issue

After the recent election success in Michigan, there is now also a legal victory for Donald Trump: In the election fraud trial, the Supreme Court is dealing with the question of whether the ex-president enjoys criminal immunity in retrospect.

Former US President Donald Trump has achieved an important partial success in his attempt to delay the upcoming legal proceedings against him. The US Supreme Court accepted Trump’s appeal on the issue of immunity from prosecution on Wednesday (local time). It’s about whether or not the Republican can be prosecuted for certain actions during his term as president. The Supreme Court announced that a hearing is now planned for the end of April. It is therefore unclear whether and when the politically significant trial against the ex-president and current presidential candidate for attempted election fraud can begin in Washington.

Donald Trump indicted for election fraud

Trump is indicted in the US capital in connection with attempted election fraud. Trump 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 he had been deprived of his election victory through fraud. As a result of the riots, five people died. Before the storming of the Capitol, Trump had already tried at various levels to overturn the democratic election results. He still does not recognize his defeat against Biden and wants to move back into the White House after the presidential election in November.

Trump and his lawyers want to get the charges dropped in Washington. They invoke Trump’s immunity in his office as president at the time and argue that Trump cannot be legally prosecuted for actions that were part of his duties as president. With this argument they failed before an appeals court in the US capital. This ruled that the 77-year-old Republican could be prosecuted criminally for his actions in office. Trump took action and called on the Supreme Court to take up the matter.

Supreme Court deals with question of immunity of US presidents

The US Supreme Court has now complied. The court said it would examine “whether and, if so, to what extent, a former president enjoys immunity from criminal prosecution for conduct allegedly related to official acts during his term in office.” Both sides are expected to present their positions at the hearing at the end of April. It will then likely take several weeks for the court to make a decision.

Such a decision on protection from criminal prosecution also has immense importance for future presidents. If they really enjoy immunity, they could potentially commit crimes in office without having to fear consequences. But it remains to be seen what exactly the Supreme Court’s ruling will be.

Trump delays possible trial

If the court rules in favor of the Republican, it could mean the end of the election fraud trial in Washington. If the court rejects Trump’s objections, it would probably take several more weeks before the attempted election fraud trial could begin – to give Trump’s team time to prepare. This means that a possible trial start could be very close to the date of the presidential election at the beginning of November. Some legal experts also believe it is possible that there will be no trial at all before the election date.

The judge responsible for the election fraud case had postponed the start of the trial indefinitely until the question of immunity was finally clarified. The trial was originally scheduled to begin next week.

Trump wants to run for the Republicans again in the November election and is the clear frontrunner in the party’s internal primaries. He regularly describes the investigations against him as a “political witch hunt” and portrays himself as a victim of the justice system.

Trump expressed satisfaction with the Supreme Court’s move on Wednesday evening and said that legal experts were also “extremely grateful” that the court was taking up the issue. Without presidential immunity, a president cannot do his job properly.

Trump criminally charged on four counts

Currently, everything indicates that Trump will win his party’s presidential primaries and that there will be a rematch of the race between him and the Democratic incumbent Biden. So far, the investigations against him have not hurt Trump in polls. This could change if Trump were convicted by a jury before the election. That’s why he is resisting the processes with all his might.

In total, Trump is facing four criminal cases against him: In addition to the federal election fraud case, there is another in the US state of Georgia. Trump has also been indicted in connection with hush money payments to a porn actress and for taking secret government documents after his time in office. Trump’s lawyers are also relying on presidential immunity in the documents case and are trying to stop the proceedings.

And the Supreme Court is also dealing with Trump in several cases: The court is currently dealing with the question of whether the Republican can continue to take part in the primaries or can even be excluded from the office of president. The judges were rather skeptical at a hearing at the beginning of February – there were signs of a decision in Trump’s favor. It is unclear when the verdict will come.

The Supreme Court has become significantly more conservative since Trump

Trump had appealed to the court to overturn a ruling from the state of Colorado that disqualified him from running in the 2021 primary because of his role in the 2021 attack on the US Capitol. A similar decision against Trump was also made in Maine – and only on Wednesday evening (local time) in a third state, Illinois. The case in Colorado, which is before the Supreme Court, is seen as exemplary for the push in other states as well.

During Trump’s term in office, the Supreme Court moved significantly to the right. During his presidency, the Republican significantly shifted the majority ratio between the conservative and more liberal-minded judges on the court through several new appointments. However, in the past, the court did not always rule in favor of the former president.

Note: This article has been updated.