Trump asks Supreme Court to pause ruling that he doesn’t have immunity in Jan. 6 case

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(WASHINGTON) — Former President Donald Trump has filed an emergency application with the U.S. Supreme Court asking the justices to stay last week’s appeals court decision that rejected his claim to absolute immunity from prosecution in special counsel Jack Smith’s election interference case.

Trump, who in August pleaded not guilty to charges of undertaking a “criminal scheme” to overturn the results of the 2020 election, is seeking the dismissal of the case on the grounds that he has “absolute immunity” from prosecution for actions taken while serving in the nation’s highest office.

Last week a three-judge panel in the U.S. Court of Appeals rejected his claim of presidential immunity, clearing the way for Trump to seek to appeal the issue to the Supreme Court.

Trump’s attorneys argued in their application to the Supreme Court, filed Monday, that the high court should allow the appellate process to play out — and effectively delay any possible trial indefinitely — given the magnitude of the issues and the stakes for the upcoming presidential election.

The justices will likely ask for a response from Smith, the federal prosecutor overseeing the investigations of Trump, before acting on Trump’s application for a stay in the coming days.

Trump’s lawyers suggested that the former president intends to seek en banc review — done by the entire bench rather than a select panel — of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and, ultimately, Supreme Court review some time down the road.

“Allowing President Trump to pursue en banc review in the D.C. Circuit will provide an opportunity for similar thoughtful consideration in the lower court before this Court addresses the novel, complex, and momentous issues at stake in this appeal,” his attorneys wrote in the new filing.

His lawyers pushed back on the argument that a quick resolution was needed, with Smith having previously cited an “imperative public importance of a prompt resolution of this case.”

“The prospect that an … appeal of an immunity question might affect a pending trial date is commonplace and routine,” Trump’s attorneys wrote.

At the same time, they argued, Trump going on trial in the months before the 2024 election risks “irreparable injury” to him because it would affect his ability to campaign before the public.

In last week’s ruling, the appellate panel flatly dismissed Trump’s claims to legal immunity and said that affording him such protection “would collapse our system of separated powers by placing the President beyond the reach of all three Branches.”

Trump’s trial had been scheduled to start on March 4 before U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan postponed that start date while waiting for his immunity appeal to play out.

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