Former President Donald Trump’s bid to dismiss the 2020 federal election interference case has been denied by a federal judge in Washington, D.C. Judge Tanya Chutkan ruled on Friday that Trump is not shielded from criminal prosecution based on presidential immunity, emphasizing that the position of Chief Executive does not provide a lifelong ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ pass.
Trump faces four federal charges, including conspiracy to defraud the U.S., related to his alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. Despite pleading not guilty, his legal team’s argument for presidential immunity based on actions within the “outer perimeter” of official responsibility was rejected by Judge Chutkan.
The judge, countering Trump’s historical and constitutional claims, emphasized that a former President is not immune from federal investigation and prosecution. She asserted that such exposure is essential to upholding the constitutional promise of equal justice under the law, aiming to prevent unchecked power reminiscent of historical autocracies.
Chutkan dismissed Trump’s defense team’s argument that the unique and sensitive nature of the presidency requires immunity from post-office prosecution, stating that potential legal consequences could influence a sitting president’s decision-making.
In response to the ruling, a Trump campaign spokesperson expressed the former president’s intention to challenge the decision in higher courts. The spokesperson accused Democrats, under President Joe Biden’s direction, of attempting to undermine constitutional principles in their pursuit to interfere with the 2024 Presidential Election.
Notably, Trump’s defense team’s additional requests to dismiss the case on First Amendment grounds, due process denial, and the principle of double jeopardy were also denied by Judge Chutkan.
Meanwhile, an appeals court in Washington, D.C. delivered a separate blow to Trump just hours before the ruling, stating that he is not currently entitled to broad immunity from civil lawsuits related to the January 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol. The decision allows lawsuits against Trump to proceed, pending potential appeals.