Jack Smith challenges Trump’s assertions in appellate court

Special Counsel Jack Smith argued Saturday before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit against President Donald Trump’s claims of immunity and double jeopardy in an election case.

Urging the court to reject the immunity and double-jeopardy claims, prosecutors asserted that President Trump is not entitled to immunity in the election case, and the criminal charges against him do not violate the principle of double jeopardy.

According to the special counsel’s office, U.S. presidents are immune from civil liability only, not criminal liability. They emphasized that the unique constitutional status of the president does not render a former president immune from criminal liability when charged with federal criminal statutes of general application.

The special counsel’s office also argued that the criminal charges filed against President Trump do not violate the principle of double jeopardy as the remedies in an impeachment proceeding are removal from office and disqualification, which they contended likely do not meet the term “jeopardy.”

They further asserted that the indictment charges against President Trump are different from what he was impeached for, thereby rejecting the notion of double jeopardy.

In addition to rejecting the immunity and double-jeopardy defenses, Mr. Smith asked the appeals court to affirm the district court’s ruling and urged the court to make a prompt ruling on the matter.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Judge Tanya Chutkan, previously ruled on Dec. 1 that President Trump is not immune from prosecution in the government’s election interference case. Judge Chutkan said the office of the president does not confer a lifelong “get-out-of-jail-free” pass, emphasizing that former presidents are not immune from federal criminal liability.

President Trump appealed the ruling in the D.C. Circuit Court, which agreed to expedite the case per a request from the special prosecutor’s office. The former president’s opening brief was due by Dec. 23 in accordance with the court order.

As the case goes through the appeal process, the special counsel has been accused of election interference in a recent appeals court filing, prompting District Judge Chutkan to pause the case in the district court while the appeal is pending.

In a separate development, the special counsel’s push for a swift trial in the Trump case has prompted accusations from President Trump’s attorneys that the prosecutions’ main objective is to rush to an unconstitutional and fundamentally unfair trial. The defense team has accused the prosecution of being politically motivated multiple times, echoing President Trump’s public speeches claiming that the indictments against him have come at the behest of President Joe Biden.

The US Supreme Court rejected Mr. Smith’s request to hear the case ahead of proceedings in the circuit court, widely regarded as a victory for President Trump.

As of now, the case is still pending, and further developments will be reported as they emerge.


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