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Supreme Court sets February 20 deadline for special counsel’s response in Trump immunity case

Trump wants the court to stay the appeals court’s rejection of his immunity request.

A day after former President Donald Trump filed an emergency request to the U.S. Supreme Court asking the justices to stay last week’s appeals court ruling that denied his request to absolute immunity from prosecution in special counsel Jack Smith’s election interference case, the court asked Tuesday that a special counsel must respond within a week.

The Supreme Court asked the special prosecutor to file his response by the afternoon of February 20.

After this filing, Trump’s legal team will have the opportunity to file a response, after which the court may act on Trump’s request at any time in its discretion.

Trump, who pleaded not guilty in August to charges that he engaged in a “criminal scheme” to overturn the results of the 2020 election, is asking for the case to be dismissed on the grounds that he has “absolute immunity.” against prosecution for actions taken during his term in office. in the highest office in the country.

Last week, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals rejected Trump’s request for presidential immunity, paving the way for Trump to appeal the issue to the Supreme Court.

In Trump’s petition to the Supreme Court, filed Monday, his lawyers argued that the high court should allow the appeal process to proceed — and effectively delay any potential trial indefinitely — given the scale of the issues and the challenges of the next presidential election. election.

Trump’s lawyers have suggested that the former president intends to seek an en banc review – conducted by the full court rather than a select panel – from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and, ultimately, a review by the Supreme Court later this year. road.

“Allowing President Trump to pursue en banc review in the D.C. Circuit will provide an opportunity for similar thoughtful review in the lower court before this Court considers the novel, complex, and momentous issues at stake in this appeal.” , his lawyers wrote in the new filing.

In its ruling last week, the appeals panel flatly rejected Trump’s claims to legal immunity and said granting him such protection would “collapse our system of separate powers by placing the president beyond the reach of all three branches”.

Trump’s trial was scheduled to begin March 4 before U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan postponed that start date pending his immunity appeal being heard.

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