Trump seeks to dismiss Georgia election interference case over presidential immunity

Former President Trump urged a Georgia judge to dismiss the election interference case against him there Monday, arguing he was acting in his role as president and is therefore immune from criminal prosecution.

Trump’s counsel argued in a new motion that the actions alleged in the indictment, which accuses the former president and 18 others of joining a criminal enterprise bent on keeping him in the White House after he lost the 2020 election, lie within the “outer perimeter” of his official duties as president.

The “historical practice over 234 years” confirms the power to indict a current or former president for his official acts “does not exist,” Trump attorney Steve Sadow argued.

“Such immunity is particularly appropriate for the President because the Presidency involves especially sensitive duties, requires bold and unhesitating action, and would be crippled by the threat of politically motivated prosecutions,” he wrote.

Trump faces 13 charges in Fulton County, including a state Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) count alleged against each of his co-defendants. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Trump’s counsel argued that communication with state officials regarding the 2020 election’s administration, organizing slates of electors and urging former Vice President Mike Pence and other members of Congress to certify those electors each fall within the president’s “official duties.”

“Making statements to the public on matters of national concern — especially matters involving core federal interests, such as the administration of a federal election — lies in the heartland of the President’s historic role and responsibility,” Sadow wrote.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (D) has portrayed Trump’s efforts as a pressure campaign against state officials he wanted to reverse his loss, while also organizing a group of 16 Georgians to serve as fake electors and claim he had won the state. 

The former president’s immunity argument in Fulton County echoes arguments he has made in his federal election interference case. U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan rejected Trump’s immunity argument last month, declaring that the office of the presidency “does not confer a lifelong ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ pass.”

A Washington, D.C., federal appeals court will on Tuesday hear arguments by Trump and special counsel Jack Smith over presidential immunity. The former president is expected to be in attendance.

Trump also filed motions to dismiss the case against him on grounds of due process and double jeopardy. 

The former president’s counsel argued that he “lacked fair notice” that his false claims of election fraud “could be criminalized” and that his impeachment and subsequent acquittal by the U.S. Senate on articles arising from the “same course of conduct” should bar future prosecution.

Dan Butcher

Dan Butcher (aka HP Pundit) is not a Democrat or Republican. He is a free thinking independent bringing you news and commentary with a dose of much needed common sense.

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