Donald Trump’s legal team filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday in its request for criminal immunity, arguing that a former president enjoys “absolute immunity from criminal prosecution for his official actions.”

The case is scheduled to be heard by judges on April 25.

Trump has appealed a lower court’s rejection of his request to be excluded from the criminal case prosecuting special counsel Jack Smith because he was acting as president when he took the actions at the heart of the case. Trump is accused of trying to overturn his 2020 election defeat.

The filing makes arguments similar to those made previously by Trump’s lawyers and echoes statements he made on the campaign trail as he seeks to win back the presidency.

Trump, the first former president to be prosecuted, is the Republican candidate challenging Democratic President Joe Biden in the November 5 US election. Biden defeated Trump in 2020.

Smith was appointed by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland in November 2022. In August 2023, Smith charged Trump with four federal crimes in the election subversion case, including conspiring to defraud the United States, obstructing Congress’ certification of Biden’s election victory, conspiring to do so, and conspiring to violate Americans’ right to vote.

In a request to the justices in February, Smith sought to challenge presidential immunity.

“The nation has a compelling interest in seeing the charges brought to justice,” Smith said in the filing, adding that “public interest in an immediate trial reaches its peak when, as here, a former president is tried for conspiracy is accused of subverting the electoral process so he could remain in office.”

The Supreme Court’s decision to hear arguments on Trump’s immunity request next month has postponed the trial and given him a boost as he seeks to delay prosecution while simultaneously running to regain the presidency. Three other criminal cases are pending against Trump. He pleaded not guilty to all four counts and tried to portray them as politically motivated.

Trump moved to dismiss the charges last October based on his claim of immunity. U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan dismissed that lawsuit in December.

On appeal, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled 3-0 on February 6 against Trump’s immunity claim, rejecting his request for “unlimited authority to commit crimes that override the most fundamental check on executive power – recognition.” dignity and implementation of the election results.”

The case puts the nation’s top judicial body, whose 6-3 conservative majority includes three Trump-appointed justices, back on the ballot.

Trump and his allies falsely claimed the 2020 election was stolen and hatched a plan to use fake electors to thwart Congress’ certification of Biden’s victory. Trump also tried to pressure then-Vice President Mike Pence not to allow the certification. Trump’s supporters attacked the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 to prevent certification.

If Trump wins back the presidency, he could try to use his powers to force an end to prosecutions or potentially pardon himself for any federal crimes.

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