Trump asks Supreme Court to extend delay in election case, claiming presidential immunity

Former President Trump is asking the Supreme Court to extend the delay in the trial stemming from Special Counsel Jack Smith’s 2020 election interference case, arguing that he has presidential immunity to protect him from prosecution.

Trump attorneys on Monday afternoon filed an emergency appeal with the Supreme Court just days after a D.C. appeals court ruled the former president and 2024 GOP front-runner is not immune from prosecution in Smith’s case.

The request is for temporary relief, to stay or block the appeals court mandate from taking effect, which would give the Trump legal team more time to file an appeal to the Supreme Court on the merits of whether a former president deserves immunity from criminal prosecution for actions while in office.

The trial stemming from Smith’s case against Trump is on hold pending resolution of the immunity question.

The Justice Department may ask for expedited consideration of this initial emergency appeal.

‘If the prosecution of a President is upheld, such prosecutions will recur and become increasingly common, ushering in destructive cycles of recrimination,’ the request states. ‘Criminal prosecution, with its greater stigma and more severe penalties, imposes a far greater ‘personal vulnerability’ on the President than any civil penalty.’

The request adds, ‘The threat of future criminal prosecution by a politically opposed Administration will overshadow every future President’s official acts — especially the most politically controversial decisions.’

The request states that the president’s ‘political opponents will seek to influence and control his or her decisions via effective extortion or blackmail with the threat, explicit or implicit, of indictment by a future, hostile Administration, for acts that do not warrant any such prosecution.’

‘This threat will hang like a millstone around every future President’s neck, distorting Presidential decision-making, undermining the President’s independence, and clouding the President’s ability ‘to deal fearlessly and impartially with’ the duties of his office.” 

Trump’s lawyers added, ‘Without immunity from criminal prosecution, the Presidency as we know it will cease to exist.’ 

A Trump spokesperson described the filing as a ‘powerhouse filing.’

‘As President Trump’s powerhouse Supreme Court filing explains, if immunity is not granted to a President, every future President who leaves office will face the prospect of being wrongfully indicted by the opposing party,’ the spokesperson told Fox News Digital. ‘Without complete immunity, the President of the United States will not be able to function properly. Even while the President is still in office, his political opponents will use the threat of future prosecution as a weapon, effectively blackmailing and extorting him to influence his most sensitive and important decisions.’

The spokesperson added, ‘The Supreme Court should grant the requested stay and put an end to Deranged Jack Smith’s repeated attempts to corruptly short-circuit the ordinary and correct functioning of our justice system.’

The filing comes after Washington, D.C., federal Judge Tanya Chutkan earlier this month officially delayed the trial, which was set to begin on March 4– a day before the critical Super Tuesday primary contests, when Alabama, Alaska, American Samoa, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Vermont vote to select a GOP nominee.

Chutkan said in December that she does not have jurisdiction over the matter while it is pending before the Supreme Court, and she put a pause on the case against the Republican 2024 front-runner until the high court determines its involvement.

Smith charged the former president with conspiracy to defraud the United States; conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding; obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding; and conspiracy against rights. Those charges stemmed from Smith’s investigation into whether Trump was involved in the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021, and any alleged interference in the 2020 election result.

Trump pleaded not guilty to all charges in August 2023.

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