Supreme Court agrees to consider whether Trump immune from prosecution

The decision means special counsel Jack Smith will have to delay any prosecution of Donald Trump by several months
The decision means special counsel Jack Smith will have to delay any prosecution of Donald Trump by several months - Donald Trump/AP
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Donald Trump has thanked the Supreme Court for agreeing to consider whether he can be prosecuted for efforts to overturn the 2020 election, delaying what could be a major trial.

“Legal scholars are extremely thankful for the Supreme Court’s decision today to take up presidential immunity,” the former president wrote on Truth Social. “Without presidential immunity, a president will not be able to properly function.”

The court, which has a 6-3 Republican majority, said it would consider the matter, beginning on the week of April 22, with a decision likely no later than the end of June.

Mr Trump added: “Presidents will always be concerned, and even paralysed, by the prospect of wrongful prosecution and retaliation after they leave office. This could actually lead to the extortion and blackmail of a president”.

The decision means special counsel Jack Smith will have to delay any prosecution of Mr Trump by several months. This could benefit the former president because any charges may now not come until after the election in November.

If Mr Trump wins the election, he could order the Department of Justice to dismiss the charges or appoint an attorney general who would drop them. Even if the court rules against him, the case may not be ready for trial until the summer or even later.

Meanwhile, Illinois has become the latest state to attempt to bar Mr Trump from running for president, joining Colorado and Maine.

On Wednesday, an Illinois state judge disqualified him from appearing on the state’s Republican primary ballot, as well as November’s presidential ballot, citing his role in the Jan 6 Capitol riots.

Tracie Porter, a Cook County judge, said Mr Trump had violated the anti-insurrection clause of the US Constitution’s 14th Amendment. Ms Porter said that she was staying her ruling in expectation of an appeal in the state and a ruling by the Supreme Court.

Mr Trump is currently appealing against Colorado and Maine’s decisions, which have been put on hold during the process.

The Supreme Court has already agreed to examine the decision in Colorado that Mr Trump was ineligible to have his name on the ballot as a result of the 14th Amendment violation.

The former president, 77, faces a total of 91 criminal charges spread out over four cases as he campaigns for another term as president.

Mr Trump has claimed that, as a former president, he has near total immunity from prosecution for actions carried out while in office. Lower courts have rejected his argument, but paused Mr Smith’s efforts to secure a speedy trial.

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