Court rules Trump not immune from 2020 election tampering lawsuits

11:04 am ET, February 6, 2024

The appeals court unanimously ruled that Trump was not immune from criminal charges

From CNN's Devan Cole, Hannah Rabinowitz and Caitlin Bolandz

Judges J. Michael Childs, Florence Pan, and Karen Lecroft Henderson

From Getty Images/AP/ ALM

The three-judge appeals court panel that issued Tuesday's ruling included two judges, J. Michelle Childs and Florence Pan, who were appointed by Joe Biden, and one, Karen LeCraft Henderson, who was appointed by George HW Bush.

In their unanimous opinion, the appeals court found that former President Donald Trump was not immune from criminal prosecution under the separation of powers clause.

“Here, former President Trump's actions are alleged to have violated generally applicable criminal statutes, such that those actions were not properly within the scope of his statutory discretion,” they wrote, meaning that existing case law “provides him with no structural immunity from the charges contained in the indictment.”

They continued: “Properly understood, the separation of powers may prevent statutory discretionary acts, but not a federal criminal investigation of a former president for every official act.”

The three appeals court judges said Trump had asked them to “find for the first time that a former president is categorically immune from federal criminal prosecution for any act that could be considered outside the scope of his executive responsibility.”

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