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Supreme Court Issues Highly Anticipated Ruling on Trump Immunity Case

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The Supreme Court on Monday extended the delay in the Washington criminal case against former President Donald Trump on charges related to the 2020 election, all but ending prospects the presumptive GOP presidential nominee could be tried before the November election.

In a historic 6-3 ruling, the justices said for the first time that former presidents have absolute immunity from prosecution for their official acts and no immunity for unofficial acts.

But rather than do it themselves, the justices ordered lower courts to figure out precisely how to apply the decision to Trump’s case.

The outcome means an additional delay before the former president could face trial in the case brought by special counsel Jack Smith.

The ruling was the last of the term and came more than two months after the court heard arguments, slower than in other epic high court cases involving the presidency, including the Watergate tapes case.

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Trump has denied doing anything wrong and has said this prosecution and three others are politically motivated to try to keep him from returning to the White House.

In May, he became the first former president to be convicted of a felony when a New York jury found him guilty of falsifying business records.

Trump still faces three other criminal indictments.

Smith is leading the two federal probes of the former president, both of which have led to criminal charges. In addition to the Washington case, he has been charged in Florida for allegedly mishandling classified documents.

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The other case, in Georgia, also turns on Trump’s actions related to the 2020 election.

If his Washington trial does not take place before this fall’s election and he is not given another four years in the White House, he presumably would stand trial soon thereafter.

But if he wins, he could appoint an attorney general who would seek the dismissal of this case and the other federal prosecution he faces. He could also attempt to pardon himself if he reclaims the White House.

He could not pardon himself for the conviction in state court in New York.

The Supreme Court that heard the case included three justices appointed by Trump — Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

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His trial had been scheduled to begin March 4, but that was before he sought court-sanctioned delays and a full review of the issue by the nation’s highest court.

Before the Supreme Court got involved, a trial judge and a three-judge appellate panel had ruled unanimously that Trump could be prosecuted for actions undertaken while in the White House and in the run-up to the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol incursion.

“For the purpose of this criminal case, former President Trump has become citizen Trump, with all of the defenses of any other criminal defendant,” the appeals court wrote in February. “But any executive immunity that may have protected him while he served as President no longer protects him against this prosecution.”

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who would preside over the trial in Washington, ruled against Trump’s immunity claim in December. In her ruling, Chutkan said the office of the president “does not confer a lifelong ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ pass.”

“Former Presidents enjoy no special conditions on their federal criminal liability,” wrote the judge, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama. “Defendant may be subject to federal investigation, indictment, prosecution, conviction, and punishment for any criminal acts undertaken while in office.”

The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.

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