Former President Donald Trump is urging a Georgia judge to dismiss the election fraud case against him, asserting presidential immunity and contending that no president has faced criminal prosecution for acts committed while in office. Trump, along with 18 others, is charged with a conspiracy to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results.
In a filing on Monday, Trump’s lawyers emphasised the historical precedent, stating, “From 1789 to 2023, no President ever faced criminal prosecution for acts committed while in office. That unbroken historic tradition of presidential immunity is rooted in the separation of powers and the text of the Constitution.”
This move comes ahead of a federal appeals court hearing in DC scheduled for Tuesday. During the hearing, arguments regarding the same presidential immunity claims will be presented as Trump seeks to dismiss a separate election interference case brought by special counsel Jack Smith.
The defence of presidential immunity has been a long-standing strategy for Trump in his legal battles. However, US District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan rejected this defence in December, asserting that the presidency does not provide a lifelong “get-out-of-jail-free” pass.
Trump’s lawyers are also contending that the Georgia criminal case should be thrown out based on double jeopardy, as they argue he was already tried and acquitted on similar charges in the US Senate following the Capitol riot in 2021.
Additionally, Trump’s legal team argues that the case infringes on his due process and First Amendment rights. They claim that Trump did not have fair warning that his alleged conduct, deemed political speech, could be criminalized.
The charges brought by Georgia’s Fulton County District Attorney, Fani Willis, include a 41-count indictment for alleged attempts to overturn the 2020 election loss in the state. Trump faces 13 criminal counts, including violating Georgia’s Racketeering, Influenced, and Corrupt Organisations Act (RICO). The prosecutors have suggested an August 2024 trial date, potentially impacting Trump’s general campaign if he becomes the Republican presidential nominee. Four co-accused individuals have already pleaded guilty in the case.