1 of 2 | A federal judge has dismissed a pair of arguments from Donald Trump’s legal team, striking down an argument that the former president has blanket immunity in the election interference case proceedings against him. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
Dec. 2 (UPI) -- A federal judge has dismissed a pair of arguments from Donald Trump's legal team, striking down an argument that the former president has blanket immunity in the election interference case proceedings against him.
U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan denied two motions filed by Trump's lawyers in a 48-page written ruling delivered Friday in Washington, D.C.
"Defendant's four-year service as Commander in Chief did not bestow on him the divine right of kings to evade the criminal accountability that governs his fellow citizens," Chutkan wrote while denying the first of two motions.
Trump's lawyers argued in their motions that presidents carry absolute immunity from criminal prosecution for acts falling directly under their responsibilities, with the sole exception to that scenario being a previous impeachment and successful conviction in the Senate.
"The Constitution's text, structure, and history do not support that contention," Chutkan countered in her opinion.
"No court -- or any other branch of government -- has ever accepted it. And this court will not so hold. Whatever immunities a sitting President may enjoy, the United States has only one Chief Executive at a time, and that position does not confer a lifelong 'get-out-of-jail-free' pass."
The former president also unsuccessfully lobbied to dismiss the federal charges against him by arguing his right to free speech under the First Amendment was violated.
"It is well established that the First Amendment does not protect speech that is used as an instrument of a crime, and consequently the Indictment -- which charges Defendant with, among other things, making statements in furtherance of a crime -- does not violate Defendant's First Amendment rights," Chutkan ruled.
Trump had previously backed calls to televise the federal trial.
Also Friday, lawyers for the former president in another trial related to election interference in Georgia argued that putting him on trial during the 2024 election would amount to election interference.
The 77-year-old is seen as the frontrunner for the Republican nomination in the 2024 presidential election. He is currently facing four separate criminal prosecutions as well as civil trials.
Former President Donald Trump speaks to the media when he arrives for the opening of his civil fraud trial in New York City on October 2, 2023. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo