Dhe Washington District Court of Appeals has rejected Donald Trump's request for immunity. According to the unanimous verdict, the former president can be prosecuted criminally for his official actions. The decision is an important victory for Special Counsel Jack Smith.

Majid Sattar

North American political correspondent based in Washington.

The leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination was indicted in Washington for attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Since the appeal court's decision took a few weeks, the start of the trial, which was planned for early March, was postponed. It is expected that the Supreme Court will ultimately have to decide on the immunity issue. There was initially no reaction from Trump's lawyers.

The three justices argued that Trump's claimed immunity for official acts would overturn the system of separation of powers. The question of the immunity of former presidents has not yet been clarified in American constitutional law, as Trump is the first former office holder to be criminally prosecuted.

Special investigator Smith initially tried to skip the appeals process and asked the Supreme Court to decide directly on the immunity issue. The Supreme Court rejected that. Trump wants to drag out the process. After an election victory in November, he could instruct his new attorney general to withdraw the lawsuit.

A jury indicted Trump last August on charges including conspiracy to commit election fraud and attempting to disrupt an official proceeding. Trump had urged his Vice President Mike Pence not to certify Joe Biden's election victory in the congressional session on January 6, 2021. During the session, a violent mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol.