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Jack Smith asks Supreme Court for decision on Trump’s immunity

Memebers of the Supreme Court of the United States 2022 - WIkimedia - Public Domain
Brett Rowland

(The Center Square) – Special counsel Jack Smith wants the U.S. Supreme Court to decide if former President Donald Trump's attempts to overturn the 2020 election were protected by presidential immunity.

Smith is moving forward on two fronts to have the matter in the Washington D.C. case decided before the March 4, 2024, trial date. 

"The United States recognizes that this is an extraordinary request," prosecutors wrote in their request to the Supreme Court. "This is an extraordinary case."

Smith wants to fast-track Trump's appeal to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, but he wants the nation's highest court to weigh in first.

"This case presents a fundamental question at the heart of our democracy: whether a former President is absolutely immune from federal prosecution for crimes committed while in office or is constitutionally protected from federal prosecution when he has been impeached but not convicted before the criminal proceedings begin," prosecutors wrote.

Trump has argued that he has presidential immunity from D.C. charges, which accuse him criminal conspiracies to subvert the 2020 election results.

The Washington D.C. trial is set to start March 4. Special Counsel Jack Smith's team of federal prosecutors charged Trump with four federal counts related to contesting the 2020 election and the storming of the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021. The charges include conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the United States, obstruction, and conspiracy against the right to vote and to have one's vote counted, according to the indictment. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

That trial starts the day before Super Tuesday on March 5, when 15 Republican primaries and caucuses are scheduled to take place.

"As President Trump has said over and over again, this prosecution is completely politically motivated," a Trump spokesperson said in a statement post on Truth Social. "... There is absolutely no reason to rush this Witch Hunt to trial, except to injure President Trump and his 150 million, at least, supporters."

Trump has repeatedly said that the federal cases against him amount to election interference. The early GOP frontrunner has largely blamed Biden and Democrats for his legal troubles. 

Federal prosecutors have previously argued in court filings that Trump has been trying to delay federal criminal trials until after the 2024 election "at any cost."