Immunity appeal could be the end of Trump trial, maybe all indictments

 December 11, 2023

It usually doesn't take much to delay a trial, and lawyers for former President Donald Trump may have found a way to do so that could be the end of all of the indictments against him--he is appealing the immunity ruling that was rejected by a D.C. judge last week.

Trump filed an appeal of the ruling on Thursday, and as part of that appeal he is also asking for all actions in the case that accuses him of election interference in the 2020 presidential election to be stopped until the appeal is decided. 

It makes sense--if an appeals court finds that he does have immunity, the case will be dropped, so why should it keep going forward until that ruling is made?

On the other hand, special prosecutor Jack Smith and Judge Tanya Chutkan are desperate to try the case before voters have their say about whether to re-elect Trump. A months-long delay if the appeals court or Supreme Court don't move quickly will dramatically lessen their chances of that happening.

Already acquitted

Not only do Trump's lawyers argue that he has immunity from prosecution for the actions he took as president, but a second argument makes the case that Trump was already acquitted by Congress on the allegations that he tried to block Electoral College voting. That makes this indictment double jeopardy, which is not allowed under the law.

Chutkan quickly rejected both arguments, but the appeals court could take considerably longer, if it agrees to consider the appeal at all.

The prospect of delaying the trial until after the 2024 election scares Smith and everyone involved in the other indictments against Trump.

That's because it could be a path to the end of all of the indictments if Trump can win the election.

The end of the indictments?

If Trump is elected, he will surely have the DOJ drop the federal charges against him immediately, ending this trial and one that alleged he mishandled classified documents.

Two additional state indictments would probably be put on hold since statutes say a sitting president cannot be charged criminally.

It's difficult to say whether any of the 91 charges Trump currently faces would be pursued after he left office four years later.

Of course, that would suit most Republicans fine, since they see the indictments as politically motivated attempts to keep Trump from getting re-elected in the first place.

If it ends up being this easy to get rid of all these charges, Trump's base will be happy.

Something tells me Democrats won't let go of their chance to take Trump down that easily, though.

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