(NEW YORK) — The judge overseeing former President Donald Trump’s federal election interference case has rejected Trump’s motion to dismiss the case based on presidential immunity.
The ruling, from U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, came in a strongly worded opinion Friday evening.
“Whatever immunities a sitting President may enjoy, the United States has only one Chief Executive at a time, and that position does not confer a lifelong ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ pass,” Judge Chutkan wrote. “Former Presidents enjoy no special conditions on their federal criminal liability,”
“Defendant’s four-year service as Commander in Chief did not bestow on him the divine right of kings to evade the criminal accountability that governs his fellow citizens,” wrote Chutkan.
Trump in August pleaded not guilty to charges of undertaking a “criminal scheme” to overturn the results of the 2020 election by enlisting a slate of so-called “fake electors,” using the Justice Department to conduct “sham election crime investigations,” trying to enlist the vice president to “alter the election results,” and promoting false claims of a stolen election as the Jan. 6 riot raged — all in an effort to subvert democracy and remain in power.
The former president has denied all wrongdoing and denounced the charges as “a persecution of a political opponent.”
In their motion to dismiss, Trump’s attorneys argued that Trump’s challenging of the election results were part of his official duties.
“Breaking 234 years of precedent, the incumbent administration has charged President Trump for acts that lie not just within the ‘outer perimeter,’ but at the heart of his official responsibilities as President,” Trump’s attorneys said in their filing. “In doing so, the prosecution does not, and cannot, argue that President Trump’s efforts to ensure election integrity, and to advocate for the same, were outside the scope of his duties.”
Trump’s trial is currently scheduled to get underway on March 4.
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