A federal court in the United States on Tuesday ruled that former President Donald Trump does not have presidential immunity and can be put on trial for trying to stay in power after losing the 2020 elections, reported Reuters.

Democrat leader and United States President Joe Biden was declared the winner of the elections in November 2020. But Trump claimed that the polls were not fair and that there was a conspiracy to stop him from winning another term.

Trump’s assertion had also led to his supporters storming the US Capitol building on January 6, 2021, to prevent Biden from being certified as president.

On Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected Trump’s claim that he cannot be prosecuted because the allegations relate to his official responsibilities as president.

The Republican leader is indicted in four criminal cases.

Tuesday’s ruling came in relation to an August 1 indictment pertaining to his alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election results and disrupt Biden’s certification of the electoral vote so he could remain in power.

Trump had appealed against the August 1 indictment arguing that former presidents were entitled to legal protections and were immune to criminal prosecution for official actions, reported Reuters. He had argued that former presidents can only be prosecuted if they were impeached by the legislature.

However, on Tuesday the court ruled that such interpretation would allow a president to commit “all manner of crimes with impunity, so long as he is not impeached and convicted”, reported the BBC.

“We cannot accept former President Trump’s claim that a president has unbounded authority to commit crimes that would neutralize the most fundamental check on executive power – the recognition and implementation of election results,” the judges wrote, reported The Washington Post.

The judgement also said that granting such immunity to a president would endanger balance of power in the US government, whose three branches are meant to act as a check and balance on each other.

The court gave Trump until February 12 to move the Supreme Court of the United States against the decision. Trump’s campaign spokesperson for the 2024 US presidential election Steven Cheung said that the former president will appeal against it, reported the BBC.

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