Attorneys for former President Donald Trump are seeking to have his election conspiracy criminal indictment dismissed because of presidential immunity.
In a filing on Thursday, Trump’s legal team wrote that “the prosecution does not, and cannot, argue that President Trump’s efforts to ensure election integrity, and to advocate for the same, were outside the scope of his duties. Instead, the prosecution falsely claims that President Trump’s motives were impure—
that he purportedly ‘knew’ that the widespread reports of fraud and election irregularities were untrue but sought to address them anyway. But as the Constitution, the Supreme Court, and hundreds of years of history and tradition all make clear, the President’s motivations are not for the prosecution or this Court to decide. Rather, where, as here, the President’s actions are within the ambit of his office, he is absolutely immune from prosecution.”
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U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan has set March 4 for the start of Trump’s trial on charges that he conspired to remain in power after the 2020 presidential election, resulting in the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol. Trump pled not guilty to four conspiracy charges related to efforts to reverse the results of the election.
The case is among a blizzard of criminal and civil proceedings that Trump faces as he runs to win back the White House. This week, he attended three days of a civil fraud trial taking place in New York, in which a state judge has already determined that he and his companies were liable for inflating the value of his assets for the purposes of seeking more favorable terms from financial instutions.
Although Trump’s latest legal salvo in the election conspiracy case may be a long shot, it could have the effect of bogging the case down in appeals to higher courts. The next hearing in the case is on Oct. 16. Chutkan will hear arguments on whether to impose a limited gag order on the former president, prohibiting him from making incendiary comments about court officials and prosecutors. Earlier this week, the judge in the New York fraud case prohibited Trump and others involved from verbal and social media attacks on members of his staff.
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