A court in the United States has ruled that former President Donald is not covered by immunity and can be subjected to prosecution over his plots to overturn the 2020 US election.
The ruling in Washington DC threw away Trump’s earlier claim he was immune from criminal charges for acts he said fell within his duties as president during the case brought against him.
Trump has for years cited presidential immunity while battling multiple cases but this latest ruling appears to have dashed his hopes. The former president still has a chance to appeal the case up to the Supreme where he believes he will get justice as conservatives hold 6-3 majority.
Trump, 77, was charged with conspiring to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election and committing fraud to stay in office.
US special counsel Jack Smith brought the charge against Trump. The trial in that case was initially scheduled for 4 March, but was postponed pending a ruling on the immunity claim. There could be further delays in the case if it ends up before the Supreme Court.
Earlier this month, a panel of judges heard the case at the DC Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington DC where Trump’s lawyer had argued that a president who is not convicted for impeachment by Congress cannot be subjected to criminal proceedings.
Although he was impeached by the House of Representatives, he was never convicted by the Senate.
The judges however, thought differently. Judge Florence Pan said that, with immunity, a president could sell state secrets or order the assassination of a political rival and hide under the cover of immunity to escape criminal prosecution.