Trump asks Supreme Court to block decision rejecting his immunity claims

Lawyers for former President Donald Trump on Monday asked the Supreme Court to block last week's appellate court decision rejecting his broad claims of presidential immunity in his election subversion case. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI
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Feb. 12 (UPI) -- Lawyers for former President Donald Trump on Monday asked the Supreme Court to temporarily block last week's appellate court decision shooting down his claims of absolute presidential immunity.

Trump's attorneys beseeched the nation's highest court to set aside Tuesday's decision by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which unanimously found he has no immunity from Special Counsel Jack Smith's charges accusing him of trying to overturn his 2020 election loss.

The D.C. Circuit ruled the decision would take effect Monday unless Trump submitted a last-ditch appeal to the high court, which he did in the form of a 39-page emergency filing in which his attorneys claim a potential criminal trial on conspiracy charges would "radically disrupt President Trump's ability to campaign against President Biden."

In the filing, Trump's lawyers claim the circuit court's unambiguous ruling "threatens immediate irreparable injury to the First Amendment interests of President Trump and tens of millions of American voters, who are entitled to hear President Trump's campaign message as they decide how to cast their ballots in November."

The Supreme Court appeal was not unexpected, as it has long been apparent the former president's strategy is to delay the start of the trial, which stems from his alleged role in inciting a violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 -- an attack prosecutors say was an attempt to stop Congress' certification of the 2020 election results.

Judge Tanya Chutkan had originally set the trial's start date as March 4 but has since ruled it will be postponed as she awaits the appeals process. If the high court rejects Trump's latest move, the case will be returned to Chutkan, in which case it would likely proceed before the November election.

In another bid for a delay, Trump's attorneys on Monday also asked the Supreme Court for more time to convince the D.C. Circuit to reconsider last week's ruling. If the high court grants that request, it would further lengthen the trial's timeline even before the justices have an opportunity to weigh in on the merits of Trump's sweeping immunity claims.