New Delhi: A federal appeals panel has ruled that former US president Donald Trump can indeed face trial on charges related to his alleged plot to overturn the results of the 2020 Presidential election. The decision rejected the former president’s claims that he was immune from prosecution and breathing life back into a landmark prosecution that had been effectively frozen while the court considered the arguments, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
As per AP, the ruling, issued on Tuesday, signifies the second rejection within a month of Trump’s immunity arguments by judges. It underscores the judiciary’s refusal to shield a former president from potential legal consequences for actions taken while in office and in the lead-up to the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot. But it also sets the stage for additional appeals from Trump that could reach the U.S. Supreme Court and result in further delays.
The one-month gap between the appeals court hearing and the ruling has already cast uncertainty on the timing of any trial in an election year filled with a tight calendar. Last week, the judge overseeing the case cancelled the initially set date of March 4 and did not immediately schedule a replacement. The judges have granted Trump until February 12 to seek a pause from the Supreme Court.
Quoting the judges, AP reported, “Presidential immunity against federal indictment would mean that, as to the President, the Congress could not legislate, the Executive could not prosecute and the Judiciary could not review. We cannot accept that the office of the Presidency places its former occupants above the law for all time thereafter.”
Furthermore, the judges sharply criticised Trump’s assertion that “a President has unbounded authority to commit crimes that would neutralise the most fundamental check on executive power — the recognition and implementation of election results,” as reported by AP.
Donald Trump is currently facing four criminal indictments and a civil lawsuit.