A federal appeals court is rejecting former President Donald Trump’s claim he is immune from criminal prosecution.
On Tuesday, a three judge panel unanimously shot down Trump’s claim he cannot be prosecuted for crimes he allegedly committed in his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
““For the purpose of this criminal case, former President Trump has become citizen Trump, with all of the defenses of any other criminal defendant,” the judges wrote.
They added, “But any executive immunity that may have protected him while he served as President no longer protects him against this prosecution.”
“The interest in criminal accountability, held by both the public and the Executive Branch, outweighs the potential risks of chilling Presidential action and permitting vexatious litigation,” the panel argued.
Steven Cheung, a Trump Campaign spokesman, said in a statement in response to the ruling, “If immunity is not granted to a President, every future President who leaves office will be immediately indicted by the opposing party. Without complete immunity, a President of the United States would not be able to properly function!”
“Deranged Jack Smith’s prosecution of President Trump for his Presidential, official acts is unconstitutional under the doctrine of Presidential Immunity and the Separation of Powers. Prosecuting a President for official acts violates the Constitution and threatens the bedrock of our Republic,” he added.
Trump has said he plans to appeal the ruling to the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court.
He has argued presidents should have broad legal protections for their actions while they are in office.
In a post on Truth Social in January, Trump wrote, “A PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES MUST HAVE FULL IMMUNITY, WITHOUT WHICH IT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE FOR HIM/HER TO PROPERLY FUNCTION. ANY MISTAKE, EVEN IF WELL INTENDED, WOULD BE MET WITH ALMOST CERTAIN INDICTMENT BY THE OPPOSING PARTY AT TERM END.”
“EVEN EVENTS THAT ‘CROSS THE LINE’ MUST FALL UNDER TOTAL IMMUNITY, OR IT WILL BE YEARS OF TRAUMA TRYING TO DETERMINE GOOD FROM BAD. HERE MUST BE CERTAINTY,” he insisted.