USA: Trump trial for attempted election fraud to start later

In the middle of the election year, Donald Trump is facing four criminal proceedings, for example because of his attempts to overturn the outcome of the 2020 election. The process should begin at the beginning of March. Nothing will come of it.

The trial against former US President Donald Trump over attempted election fraud is set to start later than planned. The responsible federal court in the capital Washington announced on Friday (local time) that the start of the trial, originally scheduled for March 4th, would be postponed. A new date will be set at a later date. The background to this are open legal questions in the case. Trump, who wants to run again as the Republican candidate in the presidential election in November, is facing four criminal proceedings in the middle of the election year.

In the case in Washington, federal charges were brought against the 77-year-old for his efforts to subsequently overturn the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. Trump lost the election to Democrat Joe Biden, but he still does not admit his defeat to this day. Instead, Trump tried in various ways to later change the election result. His campaign against the election outcome culminated in an unprecedented, violent attack by his supporters on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Other processes

The indictment charged Trump with four formal counts, including conspiracy against the United States. If convicted, he could face a long prison sentence. Trump denies all allegations and viewed the prosecution against him as an attempt by his political opponents to prevent him from running for another term. According to experts, a conviction would not legally prevent the Republican from running in the November election – especially since it is highly questionable whether a legally binding verdict will be available by then.

The trial in Washington is one of four that the Republican presidential candidate is facing. Trump was also indicted on various charges in New York, Miami and Atlanta. He is the first ex-president in US history to face trial for alleged crimes.

Fundamental question

In the election fraud case in Washington, Trump recently raised a fundamental legal question that still needs to be clarified. In view of this, it was already expected that the process could be delayed. The question is whether the office of president protects against criminal prosecution. An appeals court in Washington is currently still dealing with the clarification. A decision must be made as to whether the Republican can be prosecuted at the federal level – or whether he is protected by immunity as an ex-president. A decision on this is still pending.

A lot depends on the decision on the question of immunity. On the one hand, this means that the charge against Trump for attempted election fraud stands or falls. The outcome is also crucial for the election campaign. Last but not least, the decision on protection from criminal prosecution has immense importance for future presidents. If they really enjoy immunity, they could commit crimes in office without having to fear consequences.