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D.C. Appeals Panel Says Trump Is Not Immune

A federal appeals panel ruled Tuesday that Donald Trump can face trial on charges that he plotted to overturn the results of the 2020 election, rejecting the former president’s claims that he is immune from prosecution.

The decision marks the second time in as many months that judges have spurned Trump’s immunity arguments and held that courts could prosecute him for actions undertaken while in the White House and in the run-up to Jan. 6, 2021. That was the date when a mob of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol. But it also sets the stage for additional appeals from the Republican ex-president that could reach the U.S. Supreme Court. The judge initially set the trial for March, but she postponed it last week and waited for a new date.

The trial date carries enormous political ramifications, with the Republican primary front-runner hoping to delay it until after the November election. If Trump defeats President Joe Biden, he could use his position as head of the executive branch to order a new attorney general to dismiss the federal cases or seek a pardon for himself.

The appeals court took center stage in the immunity dispute after the Supreme Court said it was temporarily staying out of it, rejecting a request from special counsel Jack Smith to take up the matter quickly and issue a speedy ruling.