The special counsel prosecuting Donald Trump for attempting to overturn the 2020 election results last week petitioned the US Supreme Court to decide the question of whether presidential immunity would apply to the crimes Trump committed while in office, the Associated Press reported.
On December 1, US District Judge Tanya Chutkan ruled that Trump was not immune from prosecution in the election interference case, writing in her decision that presidential immunity did not amount to a “lifelong get-out-of-jail-free pass” from prosecution.
Trump’s lawyers appealed Judge Chuktan’s ruling to the US Appeals Court for the District of Columbia on December 7.
But on December 11, Special Counsel Jack Smith’s office bypassed the federal appeals court by directly appealing to the Supreme Court.
In their request, prosecutors from the special counsel’s office stressed the urgency of resolving the issue quickly, arguing that it was of “imperative public importance” that Trump’s claims of immunity be resolved by the Supreme Court so that if the Court rejects Trump’s presidential immunity claims, the trial could proceed “as promptly as possible.”
In a statement last week, the Trump campaign criticized Jack Smith and blasted the special counsel’s office for trying to bypass the appeals process in what it described as a “Hail Mary” move.
The Trump campaign accused the special counsel of only wanting to rush the trial as a way to “injure President Trump and tens of millions of his supporters.” The campaign vowed that Trump would continue to “oppose these authoritarian tactics.”
The justices later indicated that they would decide quickly if they would hear the case and gave attorneys for the former president until December 20 to respond.
The Supreme Court’s next private meeting is scheduled for January 5, 2024. It is unclear if the justices would schedule an earlier meeting to specifically address the special counsel’s request.