Special Counsel Jack Smith and his team have filed a new brief with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, challenging former President Donald Trump's claim of immunity from prosecution for his actions related to the 2020 presidential election. Trump's legal team argued that his status as president at the time should protect him from prosecution, and they sought to overturn a lower court ruling stating that being president does not offer a "lifelong 'get-out-of-jail-free' pass."
In the 82-page filing, Special Counsel Smith refuted Trump's claims, stating that the U.S. Founders did not intend to allow Presidents to commit crimes to remain in office. The brief emphasizes that there is no all-encompassing immunity from criminal prosecution for a president, particularly concerning a former president charged with acts that threaten the transfer of power.
Smith's brief argues that the indictment against Trump contains significant allegations that go beyond the scope of official presidential duties, making dismissal of the charges unwarranted. The brief also distinguishes between civil liability for official conduct and criminal liability, referencing the Supreme Court's 1982 decision which granted civil immunity to the president but did not extend this to criminal liability.
This legal battle is significant as Trump faces four separate criminal indictments—two federal cases by Smith and two state cases. It marks the first time a former U.S. president has been charged with state or federal crimes. The outcome of this case could set a precedent for the extent of presidential immunity and accountability in the United States.