WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday said it will consider special counsel Jack Smith’s request to rule quickly on whether former President Donald Trump is immune from criminal prosecution as he faces charges of plotting to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.
Supreme Court will consider Smith’s request
Update 6:13 p.m. EST Dec. 11: The Supreme Court said it will consider special counsel Jack Smith’s request to expedite Donald Trump’s claim that he is immune from prosecution for alleged election obstruction in 2020, The Washington Post reported.
The ruling means the justices will hear arguments from Smith and Trump’s attorneys about whether they should fast-track the case. Trump’s attorneys were instructed to file briefs on the issue by Dec. 20, according to the newspaper.
The high court’s decision came hours after Smith on Monday asked the Supreme Court to rule quickly on the issue.
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Original report: Attorneys for Trump have argued that he is immune from prosecution because the case involves conduct that fell within his official responsibilities as president. They also argued that the Senate’s acquittal of him during his February 2021 impeachment trial barred him from facing further prosecution.
A judge rejected the arguments earlier this month, and Trump indicated that he intends to appeal, according to Reuters and court records. Smith’s filing Monday was unusual because it asked for justices to move quickly and came before the appeals court took action, The New York Times reported.
“This case involves issues of exceptional national importance,” the special counsel wrote Monday. He said quick action was warranted to ensure that Trump gets a fair and speedy trial, should his immunity claim be rejected.
As Trump’s appeal is pending, the trial — which is scheduled to start on March 4, 2024 — cannot go on, Smith said.
“Given the weighty and consequential character of the constitutional questions at stake, only this Court can provide the definitive and final resolution of (Trump’s) immunity claims that this case demands,” the special counsel wrote.
As precedent to justify a speedy decision, Smith pointed to the Supreme Court’s quick actions in 1974′s U.S. v. Nixon. In that case, the court ordered President Richard Nixon to deliver White House tapes and other documents to a federal district court three weeks after hearing arguments, The Washington Post reported.
In August, the special counsel charged Trump with conspiracy and other charges, accusing him of attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in order to stay in power.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing, framing the cases as politically motivated ahead of the 2024 presidential election.
Several polls show Trump leading the race for the GOP presidential nomination.
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