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Judge Rules Trump Not Immune from Prosecution Over U.S. Election Case

A federal judge on Friday ruled that Donald Trump is not exempt from prosecution in his Washington election interference case, dismissing the Republican’s attempt to thwart the charges accusing him of scheming to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan’s decision sets the stage for a legal showdown over the extent of presidential authority, potentially culminating in the U.S. Supreme Court. Trump, maintaining his innocence, is anticipated to swiftly appeal, with his legal team framing the matter as an unresolved legal issue.

In her ruling, Judge Chutkan emphasized that “former Presidents enjoy no special conditions on their federal criminal liability.”

Trump’s legal team contended that the case, slated for a March trial, should be dismissed, asserting that the 2024 Republican presidential primary front-runner is shielded from prosecution for actions undertaken in his official capacity as president. They argue that the actions outlined in the indictment, such as influencing state officials on election administration, relate to Trump’s fundamental responsibilities as commander in chief.

While the Supreme Court has established immunity from civil liability for presidents concerning their official duties, it has not addressed whether such immunity extends to criminal prosecution.

Special counsel Jack Smith’s team argues that there is no constitutional or precedent-based support for the notion that a former president cannot be prosecuted for criminal conduct during their tenure in the White House.

This case is one of four criminal proceedings Trump faces as he seeks to reclaim the presidency in 2024. Smith has separately charged Trump in Florida for unlawfully retaining classified documents at Mar-a-Lago after leaving the White House. Trump also faces charges in Georgia for conspiring to overturn his election loss to President Joe Biden, and in New York for hush-money payments made during the 2016 campaign.

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