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Judge Rejects Trump’s Immunity Motions in Election Case

Photo by Library of Congress on Unsplash

A federal judge ruled on Friday that Donald Trump does not have immunity from his criminal charges in the 2020 election interference case. 


U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan denied two motions from Trump’s lawyers, which argued that he has immunity because he’s a former president. However, U.S. District Court Judge Chutkan disagreed. She decided that since Trump is not the current sitting president, he can be tried. 


This comes after the 2020 election, in which the transfer of power between presidents in the United States culminated into an insurrection. Many people have been tried and convicted for their roles in the riot, including former Proud Boys leader Joseph Randall Biggs and “QAnon shaman” Jacob Chansley.


Trump was charged with four criminal counts for his role in the insurrection, even though Trump claimed that he did not incite the Jan. 6 violence. According to material about his original indictment, the charges are “conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding and conspiracy against rights."


"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," Chutkan wrote in her ruling.


U.S. District Court Judge Chutkan also struck down Trump and his lawyers’ attempt to dismiss the charges by arguing that his First Amendment rights, which include freedom of speech, were violated. 


“It is well established that the First Amendment does not protect speech that is used as an instrument of a crime, and consequently the indictment — which charges Defendant with, among other things, making statements in furtherance of a crime — does not violate Defendant’s First Amendment rights,” Chutkan wrote


The trial is scheduled to begin on March 4, 2024. 


Trump was indicted multiple times, and he will stand trial in New York over “alleged hush-money payments,” Georgia for “racketeering,” and Florida for “mishandling classified documents” in his Mar-a-Lago estate.    


For now, Trump is still labeled a frontrunner for the Republican nomination in the 2024 presidential election in the United States.

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