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Supreme Court to hear Trump’s appeal for presidential immunity, further delaying Jan. 6 trial

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(WASHINGTON) — The Supreme Court has agreed to hear Donald Trump’s appeal of a unanimous lower court decision rejecting his claims of sweeping presidential immunity in the face of a special counsel case against him for alleged election interference in 2020.

The justices said they will take up this question in oral arguments the week of April 22.

Trump is facing four felony counts, including conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstruction, in connection with his plot to remain in power. He pleaded not guilty to the charges last year.

A trial date was initially set for March 4 but was pushed back due to Trump’s attempts to have the case dismissed on the grounds he is totally immune from prosecution for any actions taken while he was serving in the White House.

Trump’s immunity claim presents novel legal questions for the judicial system, as he is the first president (current or former) to ever face criminal charges.

Two courts have already rejected his immunity arguments, the most recent being a three-judge panel in the U.S. Court of Appeals.

“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 judges wrote. “Former President Trump lacked any lawful discretionary authority to defy federal criminal law and he is answerable in court for his conduct.”

The judges warned that if his stance were accepted, it would “collapse our system of separated powers.”

Trump’s team swiftly filed a request to the U.S. Supreme Court asking them to stay the ruling, stating the justices should allow the appeals process to play out given the stakes for the 2024 election.

The special counsel urged the nation’s highest court to deny Trump’s request.

“The charged crimes strike at the heart of our democracy,” Smith’s team wrote in a filing. “A President’s alleged criminal scheme to overturn an election and thwart the peaceful transfer of power to his successor should be the last place to recognize a novel form of absolute immunity from federal criminal law.”

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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