Trump is not immune from prosecution in his 2020 election interference case, US appeals court says
A federal appeals panel has ruled that Donald Trump can face trial on charges that he plotted to overturn the results of the 2020 election, rejecting the former president’s claims that he is immune from prosecution. (Feb. XX)
Former President Donald Trump has a busy week in at least five courts, with decisions expected on whether he can continue to do business in New York state and whether a federal trial on charges of election interference will be postponed.
On Monday, Trump is attending a closed-door hearing in Fort Pierce, Florida, in his federal case alleging the mishandling of classified documents after leaving the White House.
U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon will meet with Trump and his lawyers to discuss evidence in the case – without Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith. Then Cannon will meet with Smith.
Later Monday, Trump faces a deadline to ask the Supreme Court to hear arguments about whether he is immune from prosecution on charges of election interference.
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Trump isn’t immune. But the appeals court agreed to continue postponing U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan’s trial if Trump commits to appealing to the Supreme Court.
The arguments in the criminal case would come on the heels of the high court’s hearing Thursday on whether Colorado can remove him from the state’s presidential ballot for insurrection in the Capitol attack Jan. 6, 2021. Lawyers for Colorado and Smith’s team are seeking quick answers in both cases.
Thursday features two more hearings in criminal cases against trump.
In New York, state Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan scheduled a hearing on charges Trump falsified business records in 2016 to pay an adult-film actress and a former Playboy model not to talk about their claims he had sex with them.
Merchan had scheduled the trial to begin March 25, but pretrial work on the case paused while the federal cases took center stage. The hearing could clarify how soon the case could go to trial.
In Georgia, Fulton County Superior Judge Scott McAfee will hold a hearing about the prosecutor in the election interference case against Trump and 14 co-defendants. Trump and other defendants have asked to remove District Attorney Fani Willis from the case because of her personal relationship with another prosecutor, Nathan Wade.
Willis has acknowledged the relationship, but said she hasn’t benefitted from it financially and that she intends to remain on the case. Removing her could further delay a trial not expected to start until at least August.
Also possible this week is a ruling for damages in the civil fraud case against Trump in New York. Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron has aimed to issue his ruling by mid-February, after already ruling Trump and his namesake company committed fraud by overvaluing real-estate repeatedly for years to gain benefits from lenders and insurers.
Engoron postponed his ruling after the New York Times reported that a witness, Trump’s former chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, was negotiating a possible plea agreement for alleged perjury during the trial. But lawyers for Trump and state Attorney General Letitia James each urged Engoron to issue his ruling without waiting for possible criminal charges against Weisselberg.
James has asked for $370 million and a halt to Trump doing business in New York. But Trump has vowed to appeal Engoron’s ruling.