Lawyers representing Donald Trump have formally requested the federal appeals court to consider whether the former president should be immune to charges related to attempts to overturn the 2020 election.
Trump, a Republican, is appealing a ruling made in December by Judge Tanya Chutkan, who presides over his federal election interference trial. This ruling concluded that Trump does not possess “absolute immunity” for actions taken during his tenure at the White House.
Facing a four-count indictment filed in August, Trump has pleaded not guilty. The indictment accuses him of allegedly working to reverse the outcome of the 2020 election leading up to the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot.
In a detailed 41-page submission to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Trump’s legal team reiterated several arguments. They highlighted historical precedents where former presidents were not indicted, suggesting that this practice should remain unchanged. Additionally, they cited Trump’s Senate acquittal during his second impeachment, arguing that this should prevent a criminal trial for election interference.
Trump’s lawyers also argued that his investigations into alleged voter fraud were part of his presidential duties. They referenced an anonymously authored document purportedly presenting evidence of election irregularities. However, multiple claims of electoral fraud have consistently been refuted both in court and by independent election experts.
The legal filing stated, “President Trump was justified in expressing his concerns about the events that transpired before the eyes of the nation.”
Kyle Cheney, a senior legal affairs reporter at Politico, criticized the use of the alleged voter fraud report, highlighting that many, if not all, of its claims had been debunked.
Matthew Mangino, former district attorney of Lawrence County, Pennsylvania, expressed surprise at Trump’s legal team referring to a collection of debunked falsehoods to support their argument, noting the professional obligation of lawyers to prevent the court from being misled by false evidence.
Allison Gill, host of the political podcast “Mueller, She Wrote,” criticized Trump for presenting no new arguments in the filing.
Efforts to obtain comments from representatives of Trump and his legal team for this story through email were made by Newsweek.
Trump addressed the immunity case via his Truth Social account, characterizing the ongoing case as the “Deranged Jack Smith case on Immunity.” He asserted his entitlement to immunity, echoing sentiments expressed by “respected legal minds,” and called for the case to be dismissed, akin to how he claimed the radical left treated evidence.
Oral hearings for the case are set to commence on January 9, while the election interference trial is scheduled to begin in Washington D.C. in March.