(USNewsMag.com) – Before a federal appeals court on Jan. 9, former President Donald Trump’s attorney warned that President Joe Biden is “prosecuting his number one political opponent” as he argued Trump has presidential immunity from the charges stemming from Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation.
The trial had been scheduled to begin on March 4 but is on hold while Trump’s attorneys appeal the case and argue that presidential immunity protects him from being prosecuted.
A U.S. Court of Appeals panel of three judges, including two appointed by President Joe Biden, heard arguments from Smith’s team and Trump’s attorneys as to whether Trump has “absolute immunity,” even after leaving office.
An appointee of former President George H.W. Bush, Judge Karen Henderson, said the notion that Trump’s constitutional duty to ensure the laws are executed faithfully would also allow him to violate the laws is “paradoxical.”
During one exchange, Judge Florence Pan said that means a president “could order a political rival” to be assassinated by SEAL Team 6.
Trump attorney D. John Sauer argued the “greatest electoral threat” is Biden “prosecuting his number one political opponent.”
Prosecutor James Pearce, a member of Smith’s team, argued that presidents do not have absolute immunity and are “not above the law.” He also argued that Trump’s alleged actions fell outside the official job duties of a president.
Pearce said if Trump is not prosecuted for his alleged crimes, “the country would be in for a “frightening future,” while Sauer said that the “floodgates will be opened” to investigate former presidents.
After the hearing, Trump said it was “very unfair” that the Department of Justice was prosecuting Biden’s political opponent. He added that polls show “they are losing in almost every demographic.” He also said that his prosecution would open Pandora’s box. He maintained that he did “absolutely nothing wrong.”
It is unclear when the three-judge panel will issue its decision.
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