Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Trump Immunity Arguments

Reuters/Julia Nikhinson
Reuters/Julia Nikhinson

The Supreme Court will hear arguments as to whether Donald Trump can be prosecuted for actions taken while in office, the court said Wednesday, substantially pushing back the start date for the former president’s criminal trial in Washington D.C. for his attempts to overturn the 2020 election.

The unsigned order, which set arguments for the week of April 22, said the justices will consider whether—and potentially to what degree—a former president has “immunity from criminal prosecution for conduct alleged to involve official acts during his tenure in office.”

On Feb. 6, after hearing wild arguments from Trump's lawyers about a president’s powers, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit unanimously found that Trump is not immune from prosecution.

“We cannot accept former President Trump’s claim that a president has unbounded authority to commit crimes that would neutralize the most fundamental check on executive power — the recognition and implementation of election results,” the three judges wrote then.

After Trump requested that the Supreme Court put a hold on that ruling, Special Counsel Jack Smith urged the justices to allow the D.C. trial to proceed.

But at least four justices decided otherwise, keeping that trial paused while they decide the matter. A ruling could come as late as July.

In December, Smith had asked the Supreme Court to hear the case rather than have it go to the D.C. circuit court, but he was rejected.

Trump, who also faces a RICO indictment in Georgia for similar actions taken while in office, has been charged by the D.C. grand jury with four felony counts: two for obstruction, one for conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government, and one for conspiracy against civil rights.

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