Special counsel Jack Smith argued against former President Donald Trump’s claims of presidential immunity in his federal election interference case in a brief filed Saturday with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
On Dec. 22, the Supreme Court denied Smith’s request to provide expedited review of an appeal of a district court ruling by Judge Tanya Chutkan that rejected a motion by Trump’s attorneys to dismiss the charges from a four-count indictment of Trump secured by Smith in August. Trump asserted he was acting in his official capacity when he contested the 2020 presidential election in a brief filed with the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Dec. 23.
“Even if a former President could claim immunity from criminal prosecution commensurate with his immunity from civil damages liability for official conduct, dismissal would be unwarranted because the indictment contains substantial allegations of a plot to overturn the election results that fall well outside the outer perimeter of official Presidential responsibilities,” Smith argued in the reply brief filed Saturday.
Smith accused Trump of using false claims of election fraud to hold on to power after the election.
“The defendant’s further claim to have been carrying out his ‘official duties’ entirely ignores that, as a ‘candidate for re-election,’ he is alleged to have conspired to ‘overturn the legitimate results of’ a ‘presidential election,’ and to have done so with at least five others who had absolutely no role in the federal government, including private attorneys and a political consultant,” Smith wrote.
Smith also claimed that Trump’s “dangerous” argument, if successful, would protect “a President who orders the National Guard to murder his most prominent critics,” orders to federal agents to frame a political opponent, or bribery in return for a federal government contract.
Legal experts have noted that much of the conduct Smith claims was criminal in the indictment appears to be protected by the First Amendment. Harvard University law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz said that the indictment not only attacks the First Amendment, but also Trump’s Sixth Amendment right to counsel.
Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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