Attorneys for former President Donald Trump asked the U.S. Supreme Court to delay its potential decision regarding whether or not he could be held immune for actions made in the White House while currently a private citizen. The petition follows an appeals court decision which argued that Trump did not have such an immunity related to his actions after the 2020 election.
The former president’s legal team wrote in their petition that the efforts of special counsel Jack Smith are an attempt to “undertake an extraordinary departure from ordinary appellate procedures and decide the vital and historic question of Presidential immunity on a hyper-accelerated basis.”
Trump’s attorneys wrote that the circuit court decision was a “stunning breach of precedent and historical norms.” They added that in “234 years of American history, no President was ever prosecuted for his official acts. Nor should they be.”
The attorneys also argued that the recent decision and that of a federal district court prior “are the most politically controversial of any official, and they draw the most national attention and political ire, making the President an easily identifiable target for politically motivated prosecution. If the prosecution of a President is upheld, such prosecutions will recur and become increasingly common, ushering in destructive cycles of recrimination.”
As expected, Trump filed application for stay of DC appellate court decision denying his claims of presidential immunity pic.twitter.com/T8OKEr5kya
— Julie Kelly 🇺🇸 (@julie_kelly2) February 12, 2024
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled earlier this month that Trump did not have the immunity his attorneys argued for. The three judges ruled unanimously, writing that they had “balanced former President Trump’s asserted interests in executive immunity against the vital public interests that favor allowing this prosecution to proceed.”
“We conclude that 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,” said the decision.
Following the circuit court decision, Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung said that if immunity was “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!”