More stories

  • in

    No More Legal Games for Donald Trump

    The most important words to issue from the federal appeals court in Washington on Tuesday were not in its unanimous 57-page opinion rejecting Donald Trump’s claim of absolute immunity from prosecution.That ruling, which denied the former president’s attempt to be absolved for his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, was never in doubt. His claim is that presidents don’t enjoy immunity in just some cases, but that they are effectively above the law in all cases. During oral arguments last month, his lawyer even contended that a sitting president could order the assassination of a political rival and face no legal consequences.Rejecting this claim was easy. This line of reasoning “would collapse our system of separated powers by placing the president beyond the reach of all three branches,” wrote the three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. “We cannot accept that the office of the presidency places its former occupants above the law for all time thereafter.”The key sentence appeared elsewhere, in the one-page formal judgment accompanying the court’s opinion. “The clerk is directed to withhold issuance of the mandate through Feb. 12, 2024,” the judges wrote. With those words, the court put a hard deadline on Mr. Trump’s delay games. He has until the end of this coming Monday to appeal his loss to the Supreme Court. If he doesn’t, the mandate will issue, meaning that the trial court will regain jurisdiction of the case, and the trial can move forward.It was a welcome acknowledgment and rebuke of Mr. Trump’s strategy in the Jan. 6 case, which is to delay any legal reckoning. He is trying to run out the clock in the hope that he can win re-election and then dissolve the prosecution.So far, it’s working. The trial stemming from Jan. 6 has already been on hold for two months while the immunity appeal has played out, forcing the trial judge, Tanya Chutkan, to cancel the original start date, March 4. As Election Day approaches, it may become increasingly difficult to hold a trial that can be completed before Americans vote in the general election.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

  • in

    Queens Man Who Pushed Officer Over Ledge on Jan. 6 Sentenced to 6 Years

    The sentencing judge called Ralph Joseph Celentano III’s attack on the police officer amid the Capitol riot a “truly cowardly and despicable thing to do.”A Queens man who tackled a police officer and pushed him over a ledge during the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was sentenced this week to six and a half years in prison, court records show.The man, Ralph Joseph Celentano III, 56, of Broad Channel, was sentenced on Tuesday, according to court records. A jury convicted him last June on two felony counts — assaulting, resisting or impeding an officer, and interference with officers during a civil disorder — and several misdemeanor counts, court records show.In sentencing Mr. Celentano, the Justice Department said in a news release, Judge Timothy J. Kelly of Federal District Court in Washington called his actions during the riot “disgraceful” and his assault on the officer “a truly cowardly and despicable thing to do.”Mr. Celentano is among more than 1,265 people to be charged in connection with the Jan. 6 riot, according to the Justice Department. He and other supporters of former President Donald J. Trump stormed the Capitol in a bid to prevent the certification of Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election. A federal investigation into the day’s events is continuing.Mr. Trump, who is seeking the Republican nomination in this year’s presidential election, faces federal conspiracy and other charges arising from the riot. He has pleaded not guilty.A federal public defender representing Mr. Celentano did not immediately respond to a request for comment.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber?  More

  • in

    Ex-Top Editor of The Jewish Press Pleads Guilty to Jan. 6 Charge

    Elliot Resnick, a longtime journalist at The Jewish Press, admitted that he impeded officers’ efforts to keep a mob from storming the U.S. Capitol.A onetime top editor of an Orthodox Jewish newspaper in Brooklyn pleaded guilty on Tuesday to obstructing police officers’ efforts to hold off the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.The editor, Elliot Resnick, entered the plea, to a felony count of obstructing law enforcement during a civil disorder, before Judge Rudolph Contreras of Federal District Court in Washington. Mr. Resnick, 40, of Manhattan, is scheduled to be sentenced in June.Clay Kaminski, a federal public defender who is representing Mr. Resnick, declined to comment.At the time of the riot, Mr. Resnick was the top editor of The Jewish Press, which began publishing in 1960 and describes itself on its website as “the largest independent weekly Jewish newspaper in the United States” and “politically incorrect long before the phrase was coined.”After Politico reported in April 2021 that Mr. Resnick, who began working at The Jewish Press in 2006, had been part of the Jan. 6 mob, the paper’s editorial board published a statement saying he had been in Washington to cover the day’s events as a journalist.“The Jewish Press does not see why Elliot’s personal views on former President Trump should make him any different from the dozens of other journalists covering the events, including many inside the Capitol building during the riots,” the editorial board wrote.Citing court records, Justice Department officials said on Tuesday that Mr. Resnick had not been acting as a journalist that day. Shlomo Greenwald, who replaced Mr. Resnick as the paper’s top editor in May 2021, did not respond to email and phone inquiries on Tuesday.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber?  More

  • in

    Illinois Hearing Officer, a Former Republican Judge, Says Trump Engaged in Insurrection

    But the hearing officer said the State Board of Elections should let the courts decide whether Mr. Trump’s conduct disqualified him from the ballot.A former Republican judge appointed to hear arguments on whether to disqualify former President Donald J. Trump from the Illinois primary ballot said on Sunday that he believed Mr. Trump engaged in insurrection by attempting to remain in office after the 2020 election.But the former judge, Clark Erickson, whose nonbinding opinion will be considered by the State Board of Elections on Tuesday, added that he believed the board did not have the authority to disqualify Mr. Trump on those grounds and that the question should instead be left to the courts.The mixed decision was at least a symbolic setback for the former president, who has faced official challenges to his candidacy in 35 states and has been found ineligible for the primaries in Colorado and Maine. Mr. Trump, the leading Republican candidate for president, is still likely to appear on the primary ballots in both of those states as the U.S. Supreme Court considers an appeal of the Colorado ruling.In Illinois, at least five of the eight members of the Board of Elections would have to vote on Tuesday to remove Mr. Trump for him to be struck from the ballot. The appointed board is made up of four Democrats and four Republicans. Their decision can be appealed to the courts before the March 19 primary.The Illinois challenge, like those in other states, is based on a clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that disqualifies government officials who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” from holding office.At a hearing on Friday in downtown Chicago, lawyers for residents objecting to Mr. Trump’s candidacy accused the former president of insurrection and played footage from the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Lawyers for Mr. Trump denied the allegation and argued that, in any case, the constitutional clause in question did not apply to the presidency. We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber?  More

  • in

    How Trial Delays Could Pay Off for Trump

    Former President Donald J. Trump faces four criminal trials this year, but delays are already underway. The odds are that no more than one or two will finish before voters choose the next president. Trump’s trials are unlikely to happen as scheduled The trials, which may require a couple of months or more, are unlikely […] More

  • in

    Only Voters Can Truly Disqualify Trump

    Intense debate has accompanied the decision by the Supreme Court to review the decision by Colorado’s highest court to bar Donald Trump from the state’s primary ballots based on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment — about the precise meaning of the word “insurrection,” the extent of Mr. Trump’s culpability for the events of Jan. 6 and other legal issues.I’m not going to predict how the Supreme Court will rule, or whether its ruling will be persuasive to those with a different view of the law. But there’s a critical philosophical question that lies beneath the legal questions in this case. In a representative democracy, the people are sovereign, and they express their sovereignty through representatives of their choice. If the courts presume to pre-emptively reject the people’s choice, then who is truly sovereign?The question of sovereignty was central to the purpose of the 14th Amendment in the first place. The Civil War — unquestionably an armed insurrection — was fought because of slavery. That was the reason for the war.But its justification was a dispute over sovereignty, whether it resided primarily with the people of the individual states or with the people of the United States, who had established the Constitution.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber?  More

  • in

    Trump Confuses Haley and Pelosi, Accusing Rival of Jan. 6 Lapse

    Former President Donald J. Trump on Friday appeared to confuse Nikki Haley for Nancy Pelosi during a speech in New Hampshire, accusing Ms. Haley of failing to provide adequate security during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack at the Capitol and connecting her to the House committee that investigated it.Ms. Haley, the former governor of South Carolina and a former ambassador to the United Nations, has never served in Congress and was working in the private sector during the Capitol riot.On Friday night, Mr. Trump was in the middle of mocking Ms. Haley for the size of the crowds at her events, and criticizing the news media, when he pivoted to how he gave a speech in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, that preceded the Capitol attack.“You know, when she comes here she gets like nine people, and the press never reports the crowds,” Mr. Trump said of Ms. Haley, whose crowds have lately been, at the very least, in double digits.Then, he changed subjects. “You know, by the way, they never report the crowd on Jan. 6,” he said. “You know, Nikki Haley, Nikki Haley, Nikki Haley.”Mr. Trump then repeated his frequent claim that the bipartisan House committee that investigated the Jan. 6 attack — including Mr. Trump’s actions that day — “destroyed all of the information, all of the evidence.”Then, he claimed that Ms. Haley was in charge of security that day, and that she and others had turned down his offer to send troops to the Capitol.“Nikki Haley was in charge of security,” he said. (She was not.) “We offered her 10,000 people, soldiers, National Guards, whatever they want. They turned it down. They don’t want to talk about that.”Mr. Trump, 77, often attacks President Biden, 81, over his age and suggests that Mr. Biden is mentally unfit for office. “He can’t put two sentences together,” Mr. Trump said on Friday. “Can’t put two sentences together. He needs a teleprompter.”A spokesman for the Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.Mr. Trump has frequently tried to lay blame for the Jan. 6 riot with Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats. There is no evidence, however, that Mr. Trump ever offered to have troops deployed to the Capitol, or that Ms. Pelosi, then the speaker of the House, rejected him.At 3:52 p.m. on Jan. 6, 2021, Ms. Haley reposted photos of besieged officials inside the Capitol, writing on Twitter, “An embarrassment in the eyes of the world and total sadness for our country. Wake up America.” More

  • in

    Maine Secretary of State to Appeal Ruling on Her Decision to Exclude Trump From Ballot

    Shenna Bellows said she intended to appeal the ruling by a state Superior Court judge that placed on hold her decision to exclude Donald Trump from the Republican primary ballot.Maine’s top election official said on Friday she intended to appeal the ruling by a state Superior Court judge this week that placed on hold her decision to exclude former President Donald J. Trump from the state’s Republican primary ballot.In a statement, the official, Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, said she welcomed the guidance of the U.S. Supreme Court, which is expected to hear arguments on a similar case on Feb. 8. But in the meantime, she said, she will seek the input of Maine’s highest court.“I know both the constitutional and state authority questions are of grave concern to many,” Ms. Bellows wrote in a short statement on Friday. “This appeal ensures that Maine’s highest court has the opportunity to weigh in now, before ballots are counted, promoting trust in our free, safe and secure elections.”In a ruling late Friday, the chief justice of Maine’s highest court, Valerie Stanfill, described the lower court’s order as “generally not appealable.” She ordered Ms. Bellows to provide an explanation by Tuesday on why an appeal should be not dismissed.Ms. Bellows, a Democrat elected by the State Legislature, ruled on Dec. 28 that Mr. Trump did not qualify for the state ballot in Maine because he engaged in insurrection by encouraging the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. The 14th Amendment disqualifies government officials who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” from holding office.Her decision made Maine the second state to bar him from the ballot, after a Colorado court reached the same conclusion. Similar ballot challenges have been filed in at least 35 states; many remain unresolved though the primary season is already underway.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber?  More