Less than 24 hours after Donald Trump's lawyers told the US Supreme Court to reject a quick review of his “presidential immunity” defense, special counsel Jack Smith urged the justices for an “immediate” review and a “final” decision.
The filing at the nation's highest court Thursday responds to the former president's efforts to slow the special counsel's appeal asking judges for a final say on whether he can claim “immunity” from prosecution in a federal election conspiracy case.
The federal judge overseeing the case rejected those arguments, and Mr. Trump has vowed to appeal.
Mr. Trump “agrees that the question of whether a former president of the United States enjoys absolute immunity from prosecution for conspiring to overturn an election, and thereby prevent the rightful winner from taking office, is a question of great constitutional moment.” Mr. Smith's office wrote in the filing.
But the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination is “wrong” to believe the nation's highest court “must wait” to weigh in, they wrote.
“The immediate consideration of this matter by this court is the only way to achieve its timely and final resolution,” they added. “The public interest in the speedy resolution of this case favors a prompt, final decision by this court. The charges here are of the utmost gravity. This case involves – for the first time in our nation's history – criminal charges against a former president based on his actions while in office.”
And “not just any actions,” they added.
A federal grand jury indictment charges Mr Trump with conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct official proceedings, obstruction and attempted obstruction of official proceedings and conspiracy to violate rights.
Those charges are based on Mr. Trump's alleged actions to “perpetuate himself in power by obstructing the constitutionally mandated process to certify the legitimate winner of the election,” Mr. Smith wrote.
“The defendant is charged with serious crimes because the grand jury followed the facts and applied the law,” the filing added in closing. “The government seeks resolution of the immunity request from this court so that these charges can be resolved promptly, regardless of the outcome.”
Prosecutors argued that the former president relied on deliberately false claims about the election to pressure state officials to approve fraudulent voter rolls to prevent the results from being certified, then tried to get then-Vice President Mike Pence to deny the result and ultimately, he failed to prevent a mob of his supporters from rioting at the US Capitol on January 6.
Trump's campaign has also vowed to appeal a landmark ruling by the Colorado Supreme Court barring him from the 2024 ballot for his role in the attack.
A ruling by the state's highest court on Tuesday cites him as ineligible under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which bars candidates who “engage in rebellion or sedition” from holding public office.
The cases before the Supreme Court could raise serious constitutional questions in the 2024 presidential race, with the potential to upend the campaign of Trump, who has waged a brutal war accusing his political opponents of trying to derail his run to the White House. House.