Trump seeks to dismiss Georgia election subversion case due to presidential immunity

(CNN) — Former President Donald Trump is seeking to dismiss a wide-ranging criminal conspiracy case against him in Georgia, arguing that presidential immunity protects him from prosecution.

Trump’s immunity argument in the Georgia case, made Monday as part of a motion to dismiss state-level criminal charges against the former president, is similar to the argument his defense team has chosen in federal election subversion cases.

“The indictment in this case alleges that President Trump engaged in conduct that was core to his official duties as President. The indictment is subject to presidential immunity and must be dismissed with prejudice,” the motion filed by Trump’s lawyers said. Georgia .

The Georgia case filed Monday reiterates what the former president’s lawyers have repeatedly claimed: that Trump was exercising his official capacity as president when he allegedly undermined the results of the 2020 election and therefore had immunity.

Trump’s lawyers argued that the specific conduct included in Fulton County District Attorney Fannie Willis’ indictment was “completely ‘peripheral’ to the president’s official duties.”

This includes Trump’s public statements on the administration of the 2020 election, communications with the Justice Department regarding election-related investigations, and “urging the Vice President and members of Congress to carry out their official duties consistent with the President’s vision for the public.” OK

Trump’s lawyers argued that “the organization of the slate of electors to support Congress’ efforts to carry out its duties also falls within the President’s official duties.”

Therefore, Trump’s impeachment in both the Georgia and federal cases is unconstitutional because presidents cannot be criminally prosecuted for “official acts” unless they are impeached and convicted by the U.S. Senate.

Steve Sado, Trump’s lead attorney in the Fulton County case, also noted in a statement that they had previously tried to dismiss the case on First Amendment grounds, but the court had not yet made a decision.

On Tuesday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments from Trump’s attorneys and special counsel Jack Smith on both immunity claims, and Trump himself plans to attend the hearing.

Monday is the deadline in Georgia to file pretrial motions in a massive racketeering case against Trump and others accused of helping the former president try to overturn the state’s 2020 election results.

Fulton County prosecutors have said they hope the trial will begin in early August 2024, which could take place directly in the middle of Trump’s presidential campaign if he wins the Republican nomination.

Supremacy Clause Argument

Trump’s legal team is invoking the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause to protect him from criminal prosecution in Georgia.

In court filings, the Trump team argued that the state court system cannot interfere with federal functions. That argument, if successful, could expand protections for the presidency even more than Trump believes he should enjoy under presidential immunity.

“The Supreme Court has held that states cannot use criminal law to interfere with conduct that is inseparable from the operations of the national government. There is no question that the election of a president of the United States is closely tied to the functions of the national government,” his attorneys wrote.

Trump’s legal team also filed a motion to dismiss the double jeopardy charge against him, saying the charge should be dismissed because he has already been impeached and tried in the Senate for his role in the September 6, 2021 riot. role and was acquitted.

‘Lack of fair notice’ of possible criminal activity

Separately, Trump’s lawyers argued that the Georgia case should be dismissed on due process grounds, saying the former president “lacked fair notice” that his baseless claims of widespread voter fraud could be criminalized crime.

“Our nation has a long tradition of strong political advocacy against allegations of widespread fraud and irregularities in presidential elections throughout our history, and as a result, President Trump did not fairly realize that he was The defense may be affected in the case of a “conviction,” Trump’s attorneys wrote.

They added: “Due process prohibits a court from applying a novel interpretation of a criminal statute to conduct within which that statute or any prior judicial decision does not fairly demonstrate its scope.”

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