Trump appeals ruling denying his immunity claims in his federal election interference case

WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump filed a notice Thursday indicating that he will appeal a ruling that he does not have immunity from prosecution in his federal election case that’s set to go to trial in March.

Judge Tanya Chutkan, who’s presiding over the election interference case against the former president, ruled against Trump last Friday, Dec. 1, denying his motion to dismiss his D.C. indictment on presidential immunity and constitutional grounds. Chutkan said the former president did not have absolute immunity from prosecution for actions taken in his role as president.

In a separate filing Thursday, Trump’s lawyers also requested a pause on all further proceedings in the case until his appeal is resolved. Such a stay is required under D.C. Circuit Court and Supreme Court precedent, Trump’s lawyers said.

The former president has asked that Chutkan rule on this motion for a stay in seven days. His lawyers argued that “the continuation of these proceedings in the absence of jurisdiction inflicts ongoing irreparable harm.”

Otherwise, Trump has asked Chutkan to issue a temporary administrative stay in the case to allow him to seek a full stay from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

In an order Thursday evening, the judge asked prosecutors to respond to Trump’s filing by 5 p.m. Sunday, and for Trump’s team to in turn respond to prosecutors’ arguments by 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Late last week, Chutkan denied two motions filed by Trump’s legal team that sought to dismiss the indictment against him.

For the first motion, Chutkan rejected Trump’s claim that presidents have absolute immunity from prosecution for acts that fall within their official responsibilities unless first impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate.

She also rejected Trump’s second motion, stating that the indictment does not violate the First Amendment.

Chutkan has set a trial date of March 4, which will fall in the middle of the GOP presidential primary cycle and the day before Super Tuesday. While Chutkan appears determined to start the trial in March, a stay combined with a lengthy appeals process could cause case deadlines to be delayed, leading to a later trial.

Separately last Friday, a federal appeals court denied Trump’s bid to dismiss civil claims that want to hold him accountable for the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021, stating that his claims of presidential immunity don’t apply in the matter.